When In Roam

Carl Chu's Food & Travel Blog

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Blue Crab Season on the Chesapeake Bay

Summertime. Time of clam bakes, lobster rolls, and seafood abundance up and down the east coast. On the Chesapeake Bay, it is the time for blue crabs, the feisty crawler that is the highlight of so many wonderful summers I have spent on this side of the country.

Blue crabs are a little small for my taste, and not nearly as flavorful as our beloved Dungeness on the west coast. But they are lots of fun to eat nevertheless, especially when you get one of those with the golden roe. Sweet and silky, it is a heavenly treat. And with some skill with the wooden mallet, you can extract a decent amount of meat from them.

At the Crab Deck on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, you get the blue crabs steamed. Sure the kitchen cooks up a few other dishes along the way, but everybody knows to just get the steamed crabs. You order them by the half or full dozen, with each one caked with a generous coating of Old Bay seasoning.

We ordered the crabs six at a time. After they were finished, we ordered six more. This way, each crab was steaming hot and succulent—the perfect way to have it. As the afternoon wore on, our piles of shells got bigger and higher, and our cups of beer got drained, filled, and drained again. Can summer be any more pleasant?

We also ordered some steamed clams, two types actually: cherrystone and soft shell clams. I liked the cherrystone—large, meaty, and bursting with a briny flavor. I also liked the soft shell, called steamer clams elsewhere. They reminded me of geoduck. Besides steaming, I could imagine these clams roasted over coals, with a dousing of ketchup just as the shells open up, and then roasted some more. I could definitely eat those all summer.

Crab Deck is located in Kent Narrows on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, on U.S. 50/301 between Kent Island and Prospect Bay.

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