Something new from something old

by Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on Sep 19, 2012 - 02:16 PM

Photo: Maryland Blue Crab Marmalade Salad, best in the contest. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day

Maryland Blue Crab Marmalade Salad, best in the contest. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day

Photo: Crab Cookies

Crab Cookies

The Chesapeake Bay blue crab industry is the oldest in the United States, dating to the early 1600s. The blue crab is a major American seafood resource that’s found along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, but is most especially associated with the Chesapeake Bay.

This crustacean whose scientific name is Callinectes sapidus, which translates from Greek and Latin to mean beautiful, savory swimmer, is both a recreational and commercial product that provides many, many delicious dishes enjoyed by millions. It is delicious whether steamed, fried, baked or combined with other ingredients.

Chesapeake is a Susquehannock word meaning "great shellfish bay." Undoubtedly Native Americans led the settlers to some of the best places to catch crabs. Early treaties always included provisions for the rights of Native Americans to hunt, crab, fowl and fish. Crisfield, Md., was certainly at one point one of these sites, as today Crisfield is known as the "Crab Capital of the World."

And it’s in Crisfield that a Hard Crab Derby has been held annually for 65 years. The crab-cooking contest was added to the Derby 47 years ago and today cooks from the Mid-Atlantic region come to Crisfield to display their crab-cooking talent.

This year Tess Klimm of Middletown, Va., captured the judges’ palates with her Maryland Blue Crab Marmalade Salad, winning the blue ribbon in the salad division. Then Klimm received the grand-prize award as best entry in the contest.