Sunday, May 4, 2008

Maryland Blue Crabs

Every place I have lived offers some culinary delight that is unique to the area. Here in Maryland USA the folks have a great tradition of steamed blue crabs from the Cheaspeake Bay. Come summer and the the water starts to warm up we are ready to steam-up some crabs.

During the Summer months the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) moves into the Chesapeake Bay. This crab is found along the southern Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of America. Anyone boating in the Chesapeake Bay during summer will see thousands of crab pots, in the early morning fisherman also use Trot Lines to harvest the Blue Crabs.

As far as crabs go the blue crab is small and it is not uncommon to steam up a dozen or so crabs and white corn, line the table with paper, pour the crabs on the table and have a feast with friends.

In Maryland crabs are steamed, not boiled. My steamer is in 2 parts, water is in the lower part and the crabs in the upper part. The live crabs are placed in the steamer with generous amounts of seasoning (Old Bay, Salt, local blends are worth looking for). Bring steamer to boil over high heat and steam untill crabs turn red, around 10-15 minutes.

Line the table with large sheets of paper, pour the crabs onto the paper. This can get messy and there is a technique you need to learn to get to the succulent meat but they taste so good everyone gets into the swing of things and before long you are pickin crabs with the best of them.

Good friends, Summer, Maryland steamed crabs and ice cold beer. Doesn't get much better.

Some of our favourite Crab Houses are:

  • Harris Crab House - 433 Kent Narrows Way North, Grasonville
  • Canton Dockside - 3301 Boston Street Canton
  • Ships Cafe & Pub - Fredrick Rd, Catonsville