Best Blue Crab Restaurant In Baltimore

Best Blue Crab Restaurant In Baltimore – Every summer, people from near and far flock to Maryland’s shores for blue crabs. Here now, how and where is the crab season.

Summer in Maryland isn’t summer without crabs. And not just any crab: We’re talking about the delicacy of Chesapeake Bay’s delicate, sweet blue crab, whose Latin name Callinectes sapidus means “beautiful swimmer.” There are few things that excite Marylanders more than tearing into bushels of crab-spiced red-shelled beauties or savoring the taste of fried soft shells with an ice-cold Natty Boh.

Best Blue Crab Restaurant In Baltimore

Marylanders prepare hard shells and other seafood instead of boiling them as is common on the East Coast and the rest of Louisiana. Marylanders will tell you that boiling makes the crab meat soggy, not just moist. (Proponents of boiling argue that steaming pushes the internal temperature too high and dries out the meat.) But oddly enough, Marylanders complain that the seasoned boiling water makes the crab too evenly flavored — they like the variety in heat and spice that comes from flavoring the spices that are theirs. Rub the crab meat from the fingers. As a result, in Maryland, steamed is usually the only option on offer.

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Blue crabs are found in waters as far north as Nova Scotia and as far south as Uruguay, but the crustacean’s strongest association has always been with Maryland. According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, about 50 percent of the nation’s blue crab harvest comes from Maryland waters.

And they are an essential part of the region’s culinary heritage. “Blue crab is part of the holy trinity of Maryland seafood, made with oysters, rockfish and blue crab,” says chef Spike Gizzard of Baltimore’s Woodberry Kitchen.

Gjerde is the first Baltimore chef to win a James Beard Award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic and grew up in Baltimore. He knows his crabs: “Blue crabs are really unlike any other crab in the world, thanks to the growing conditions and the type of estuary we have here,” he says. “They are superior to any other crab in my opinion.”

The lazy may prefer large Dungeness crabs from the West Coast, which are much larger and easier to eat. Many restaurants use cheap pasteurized crabs from Asia for their dishes. But not all crabs are created equal. Gjerde notes that other species of crab lack the depth of flavor and fine texture of blue crab. “It has a lot to do with the season,” he says. “The season usually starts in [April] and lasts until the cold weather arrives in November. Seasonality has definitely influenced our perception of the blue crab over the years, and that’s why it holds the place it does in the Chesapeake system. Life.”

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According to Steve Vilnit of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Services, from a scientific point of view, the need for hibernation is because Maryland crabs taste better than other types of crabs — and taste better than blue crabs in other waters. He explains that like other animals that hibernate, crabs need to build up fat stores to sustain them during dormancy. “It gives our crabs a buttery flavor you can’t find anywhere else,” says Vilnit. “For anyone who knows what they’re looking for, it’s possible to tell by eye what’s from Maryland, but it’s probably by taste.”

So how does one look at a crab and know if it’s from Maryland? According to Capt. Frank Updike Sr. of Natural Light Charters, who leads chartered crabbing and fishing trips with his son Frank Jr., one way is the color of the fat, often called mustard by the locals, which is a dark shade of yellow.

The easiest way to make sure you’re getting Maryland crab is to first ask, and second is to visit a True Blue-certified restaurant in the state of Maryland. The certificate verifies through restaurant receipts that at least 75 percent of the crab or crabmeat used in the year came from Maryland.

But as Updike says, “Yeah, Maryland crab tastes better. But even if a blue crab isn’t from Maryland, it’s still going to taste pretty good.”

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Many consider soft shell crabs a delicacy and a way to enjoy crab picking without the hard work. A soft shell is any crab that has molted within the last 12 hours. At that point the shells are soft and papery, so they can be eaten whole, claw to claw, except for the gills and parts of the stomach. These portions are removed before cooking, so diners can eat with abandon.

Crabs typically molt 18 to 23 times in their lifetime and only mate when a female is molting. Because the crab spends only 12 hours as a softshell, crabbers watch carefully to see if a crab is about to molt — the development of a line on the last leg, known as paddler fins, that starts and progresses from white. Pink and then red as it grows closer to melting.

These pre-molted crabs, known as peelers, are usually kept in a special shedding tank until they hatch from their old shells. The then-valuable softies are removed from the water to prevent their shells from hardening before being cooked and eaten.

Before going to the plate, the soft shells are usually fried or fried with seasoned batter. It’s hard not to like something deep-fried, but many natives consider it a good alternative to not overwhelm the sweetness of the meat. Both methods preserve the fatty mustard inside and usually a crab juice shake.

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At most seafood restaurants in Maryland, the soft shell is served as a sandwich with mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato, or on a plate to be enjoyed with a fork and knife. But apparently many chefs have taken the classic even further, putting their elaborate soft shells on sushi rolls as well as on tacos and atop pizza.

Maryland crab season begins in April and runs through December. But most of what is found in crab houses early in the season or during the winter comes from North Carolina and Louisiana.

Maryland crabs that are served in April and early May usually stay north during the winter and dig themselves into the ground. Then around Memorial Day, the initial supply runs out and crabbers wait for the crabs that are still making their way into the bay.

While June to August is the preferred and traditional time for eating crabs, September and October are the best times to get the biggest and fattest hard crabs at the best prices.

Maryland Steamed Crabs

The Maryland soft shell season typically runs from mid-May through September. Since they are a delicacy, the best time to eat them is whenever you can get them However, they are usually least expensive early in the season.

Mustard/Tomali: Found in all crabs, tomali, also known as Mid-Atlantic mustard, is crab fat. Its color can range from white to Dijon mustard yellow to greenish. It is included with most pre-packaged crabmeat to enrich its flavor.

Crabs: Found in adult female crabs, crabs are a bright orange color. It hardens when steamed and is often used as a topping in Chinese cuisine for dishes such as pork and crab soup dumplings or tofu.

Jumbo lumps: These are large chunks of meat attached to the crab’s swimming fins. It is favorable for its presentation and size, and accordingly more expensive.

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Backfin: Backfin meat comes from the body of the crab and is sliced. It has a more crumbly texture than lumps and is less expensive.

Apron: This is the white underside flap of a crab, which ends in a point. They can be used to judge the sex and maturity of crabs.

Jimmy: These are male crabs; The point of the apron is long and narrow. Adults have locking spines that allow them to open and close their aprons for mating. They are generally favored for consumption due to their size and have higher availability due to high catch limits.

Sally: Also known as she-crabs, these are juvenile female blue crabs. Their entire apron forms a triangle and their blue claws are tipped with red. The apron does not open because they are not ready to mate or carry eggs. Usually they are left behind due to their small size and reproductive capacity.

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Suk: Mature female blue crabs are characterized by an apron that is an upside-down U shape with a triangular point at the end. His blue claws are also tipped with red. Souks are generally less expensive and end up in picking houses due to their smaller size. Some say that the flesh of the suk is sweeter than that of the jimmi.

Sponge crabs: Sponge crabs are mature females that have been fertilized

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