Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine the bechamel with the Gruyere and Parmesan. Stir well to combine and set aside.
Set a 12-inch saute pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of whole butter. Once the butter is melted, add the shallots to the pan and cook until soft, about 1 minute. Add the crabmeat and season with the salt and pepper. Cook the crabmeat in the saute pan and toss to evenly mix, about 2 minutes. Add the chives, parsley and tarragon to the crab and continue to toss to blend.
Pour the sauce over the crabmeat and stir to combine. Transfer the crabmeat mixture to a 1-quart oval casserole dish. In a medium bowl, combine the bread crumbs with the melted butter and Essence and stir to blend. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the crabmeat and place the casserole in the oven until well browned and bubbly, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven, garnish with chopped parsley and serve with toast points.
Set a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Take the onion, and lay the bay leaf on the cut side. Use the cloves to pierce the bay leaf and affix it to the onion. This is called an onion pique. Place the onion pique into the saucepan and add the milk. Scald the milk, and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer the milk for 45 minutes, then strain through a fine mesh sieve and set aside to cool.
Once the milk has cooled, make the roux. In a small 1-quart saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the flour to the pan and stir to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, until the roux is light tan in color, about 5 minutes. Add the milk to the pan and whisk to keep any lumps from forming. Bring the milk to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Season with the salt, pepper and nutmeg and cook until the roux taste has cooked out, about 10 minutes.
Yield: about 2 cups
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Yield: 2/3 cup
Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, published by William and Morrow, 1993.