Summer cooking in the Chesapeake area involves more than just crabs, but crabs are one of the big stars of the cuisine. For this Wednesday's food show, Kojo's talking with John Shields, owner and chef at Gertrude's Restaurant in Baltimore.
John was nice enough to share two of his crab recipes with us. Do you have a favorite, tried-and-true crabcake recipe you'd like to share?
New Chesapeake Kitchen Maryland Crab Soup
3 quarts water
5 cups coarsely chopped peeled tomatoes or 2 cans (28 ounces each) tomatoes
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup pearled barley
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
3 stalks celery, diced
1 large onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 head cabbage, finely sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups fresh or frozen mixed vegetables, such as diced carrots, cut-up green beans, corn kernels, shelled peas, and lima beans, in any combination
2 pounds claw crabmeat, picked over for shells.
1. Combine the water, tomatoes, tomato sauce, bay leaves, barley, parsley, Chesapeake seasoning, celery, onion, salt and pepper in a large soup pot.
2. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 hour.
3. Add the cabbage, potatoes and mixed vegetables. When the vegetables are tender, discard the bay leaves.
4. Add the claw meat and gently simmer 15 minutes longer. I allow the soup to sit for at least 30 minutes, and if needed, reheat for several minutes.
Gertie’s Crab Cakes
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Chesapeake seasoning
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Tabasco sauce
1 pound backfin crabmeat, picked over
1/3 cup saltine cracker crumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying (optional)
Olive oil, for sautéing (optional)
Tartar sauce and lemon wedges for accompaniment
1. Mix the egg, the mayonnaise, mustard, pepper, Chesapeake seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco together in a blender or mixing bowl until frothy.
2. Place the crabmeat in a bowl and sprinkle over the cracker crumbs.
3. Pour the egg mixture over the top. Gently toss or fold the ingredients together, taking care not to break up any lumps of crab.
4. Form the cakes by hand, or with an ice cream scoop, into 8 mounds about 3 inches in diameter and 3/4 of an inch thick. Do not pack the mixture too firmly. The cakes should be as loose as possible, yet still hold their shape.
5. Place the cakes on a tray or platter lined with waxed paper, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cooking.
Pour oil into a heavy skillet to a depth of about 1 and 1/2 inches. Heat the oil and fry the cakes, a few at a time, until golden brown, about 4 minutes on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
Heat a small amount of olive oil in a skillet and saute; the cakes, turning several times, until golden brown, about 8 minutes total on each side.
Lay cakes out on a broiler pan. Slip the cakes under a preheated broiler until nicely browned, turning to cook evenly, 4 or 5 minutes on each side.