Wednesday, August 11, 2010

5 Blue Crabtastic Recipes

Guest post by Molly White

Growing up in Maryland means growing up eating blue crabs, steamed, fried, baked, broiled, deviled, and 5 trillion other ways.  30 years later I still have vivid memories of sitting at my father's side while he picked hot steamed crabs, just waiting for him to let me have a bite.  And now as the mother of two small children, I'm the one picking the crabs while they sit by my side, anxiously awaiting the sweet, delicate meat to be plucked from the crab and given to them.  Over the years I've been served a crab and a multitude of ways.  Below are my top 5 favorite.

Photo By Tammi Scott-Lynch

The steamed crab is the most casual and conversational way to eat a blue crab.  Buy them already steamed by the dozen, or steam them up yourself.  It's very simple and only requires 5 ingredients:

Old Bay

Those last two ingredients are the secret to making the best steamed crabs in the world.  Fill a big pot about 2 inches deep with water, add in a can or two of beer and about a quarter cup of vinegar, place the steam basket in the pot, cover and bring water to a boil.   Layer the crabs and Old Bay in the pot and steam until the crabs are reddish orange, about 20 to 30 minutes.  Remove from steamer and enjoy the sweet, delicious meat.  Of course you'll have to pick them yourself :)
For a more refined crab experience, there are a multitude of ways to enjoy blue crab meat.  The following are my five favorite ways to enjoy this Mid Atlantic specialty.


We buy jumbo lump crabmeat from the grocery store or use leftover steamed crabs to enjoy this at home.  And we use the simple recipe on the side of the Old Bay container.

2 slices dried bread, crusts removed
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon McCormick® Parsley Flakes
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon OLD BAY® Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 pound lump crabmeat

In a large bowl, break bread into small pieces. Moisten with milk.

Add mayo, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, baking powder, OLD BAY, salt, egg and crabmeat. Mix lightly and shape into patties. If time permits, refrigerate patties 30 minutes to help keep them together when cooking.

Broil or fry until golden-brown on both sides.

The deep fried goodness that is the crab fluff was not introduced to me until earlier this year.  It is a Baltimore specialty and Ocean Pride Restaurant in Timonium makes a particularly tasty one. It is a crab cake that is battered and then fried.  While it may not be the healthiest of options, it is one of the most flavorful.

1 cup self-rising flour
1 tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 tbsp. parsley flakes

recipe on can OF Old Bay Crab Seasoning*

Whip eggs with fork or spoon. Add flour, Old Bay and parsley. Add enough milk to make consistency of pancake batter, but not too thin; mix well.

Dip crab cake into batter using 2 forks. Place dipped crab cake into hot oil and fry until golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper.
*Make crab cakes as desired then dip into batter.

The soft shell crab is a unique delicacy in that you eat not only the meat but the entire crab save for it's eyes and lungs, which you have your fishmonger clean in advance.  This can come as surprise to some people when ordered; I've witnessed a few shocked restaurant patrons try to figure out how to eat one.

I like to use this recipe from Cooking Light

Here is a basic recipe for cooking soft-shell crabs. You can vary it by adding cayenne pepper, garlic powder, or other seasonings to the flour.

4 servings (serving size: 1 crab)
4  (3 1/2-ounce) soft-shell crabs, cleaned
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
1/4  cup  all-purpose flour

1  tablespoon  butter

Sprinkle each crab with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow bowl. Dredge each crab in flour, turning to coat; shake off excess flour.
Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add crabs to pan, top sides down; cook 3 minutes. Turn crabs over; cook an additional 2 minutes.

To serve I added a corn relish.
2 tbspns olive oil
2 ears of corn off of the cob
1/4 cup fresh basil shredded
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat, add corn and saute until tender, about 6 minutes, add basil salt and pepper to taster, drizzle over crabs.

This is a great light way to enjoy crabs and works wonderfully for a luncheon or other gathering.
1lb jumbo lump crab
1/4 cup mayo
2 stalks of celery, diced
dash of Old Bay
salt and pepper

Place crab meat in bowl and add celery, gently fold in the mayo so as not to break up lumps of crab meat, add old bay, salt and pepper to taste.  Serve alongside freshly sliced tomatoes, ears of corn or inside an avocado 1/2.

Each one of these recipes is full of flavor and highlights what makes the crab such a tasty treat; they are sweet and rich and tender.  So perfectly delicate that nothing can compare.  Try serving up a few of these at one gathering and see which your guests prefer.  Of course, use your crab MessageTile to tell your guests what's on the menu ;)

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