When you live in Maryland, there is one thing that is certain. You’d better be damn well sure to like crabs. For someone who is, say, allergic to shellfish, living here can be a real curse. You have to look at crabs, see other people eat crabs. Watch the supreme elation on someone’s face as they pound the crustacean with a mallet. Sure, the chef in The Little Mermaid may have been a little cruel but the guy was on to something. Crabs are delicious.
Earlier this summer, I had the good fortune to judge Cambridge’s annual Taste of Cambridge Crab Cook-Off. Believe me when I say this was the most delicious day of my life. There was crab upon crab upon more crab. Taste of Cambridge is basically a street fair. Main Street is closed off and people flock from all around to sample crab dishes, voting for their favorites. Of course, there are tons of vendors set up including a cart with snow cones and another with briny, flavorful oysters. There is a crab-cracking contest, local music, dancing. It is everything a street fair should be.
Oh, and there’s the crab. There were six different categories: cream of crab soup, Maryland crab soup, specialty crab soup, crab dip, crab cakes and crab specialty items. It was probably the hardest decision of my life, deciding which out of all the dishes presented tasted best. Because they were all fantastic. There was a crab dip, hot and bubbly, served with spiced Naan for dipping. There was a crab spring roll, crispy and slightly sweet. Crab cakes, of course, were presented with no filler and all crab meat. And then, there was this cream of crab soup.
Let the record show, I am a sucker for cream of anything so long as it is homemade. This soup was no different. The broth, if you can call it that, was creamy and smooth and buttery. It was filled with giant lumps of crab meat, overflowing out of the cup. And it had corn laced throughout. I was a BIG fan of the corn addition, since it gave a great textural crunch. Of course, you got one tasting and then moved on to the next item. I would have been content to slurp cream of crab soup all night long
I returned home, eager to try and recreate that magic in my own kitchen. This is as close as I’ve come. It’s got all of the key elements, including cream, Old Bay, giant lumps of crab meat and corn. It hit the spot in a big way. And while the flavors are clearly summery in nature, I think this soup can transcend seasons and be great during these chilly months we’ve got laid out in front of us. Give it a whirl for yourself. Report back.
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 ears of fresh corn, sliced off the cob
- ⅓ cup flour
- 1 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 lb. lump crab meat
- Melt the butter in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Add in the onion and corn and cook until the onion is translucent.
- Next, add in the flour, Old Bay, cayenne, black pepper and salt. Stir well to combine, making sure it is all incorporated.
- Add in the milk and heavy cream slowly, making sure it is all incorporated. Bring to a simmer and let cook five minutes until thickened.
- Add in the crab meat. Stir and simmer five more minutes. Garnish with additional corn.