The Coast Day Crab Cake Cook-Off, sponsored by the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Pro-gram and Graduate College of Marine Studies, is calling for entries for this year’s contest. Past entries have ranged from “Celestial Crab Cakes” that are out-of-this-world to the homegrown “Diamond State Crab Cakes.” Since the contest was established in 1990, recipes with all manner of names and ingredients have been sub-mitted by professional and amateur cooks from the Delmarva area who hope to have the recipe that will win the coveted title of “Delaware’s Best Crab Cakes.”
Last year, Gail G. Koller of York, Pennsylvania, won top prize with her “Black-and-Blue Crab Cakes.” As first-place prizewinner in the 2000 Coast Day Crab Cake Cook-Off, Koller has been invited back to be one of the judges at this year’s competition. Eight finalists will compete for cash prizes ($150 for first place, $100 for second place, and $75 for third place) and recognition in the cook-off on Coast Day, Sunday, October 7, at the University’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes.
Coast Day is the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program and Graduate College of Marine Studies’ annual educational festival and showcase for Delaware’s rich marine resources. The event typically attracts more than 10,000 visitors and has won state and national awards for its efforts to promote environmental education and stewardship.
“The crab cake cook-off highlights one of Delmarva’s most valuable seafood resources — the blue crab,” says Doris Hicks, seafood technology specialist for the University’s Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service and the event’s organizer. “If asked, most folks could probably only come up with two or three different ways to prepare crab cakes off the top of their head. But over six dozen recipes have been prepared at Coast Day, and a different one wins every time.”
The crab cakes must be made from 100% blue-crab meat; all other types of crab meat are unacceptable. Each contestant will receive two pounds of blue-crab meat to use the day of the competition. All other ingredients and cooking utensils are the contestants’ responsibility. Judging will be based on originality, predominance of crab meat, taste, and texture.
“The Crab Cake Cook-Off is a contest for people of all ages — so far, our youngest contestant has been 11, and our oldest has been over 60,” continues Hicks. “Contestants enter treasured family recipes, recipes with secret spice mixtures, or come up with totally new recipes that utilize many of the wonderful ingredients available in local markets.”
The 10-year anniversary of the Crab Cake Cook-Off in 1999 prompted Hicks to collect all of the award-winning recipes, which were then published in a commemorative Coast Day Crab Cake Cookbook. The 50-page spiral-bound booklet is available from the Marine Communications Office in Newark at (302) 831-8083 or the Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service in Lewes at (302) 645-4346. The cookbook costs $3.00.
Entries are due Friday, August 10. For a complete set of contest rules and an entry form, or for more
information, contact the University of Delaware Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service at (302) 645-4346, or Rita Baty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“BLACK-AND-BLUE CRAB CAKES”
by Gail G. Koller
2 pounds lump crab meat
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons fresh, chopped parsley
4 tablespoons finely chopped celery
4 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
3 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons flour
4 egg whites, beaten till frothy
2 tablespoons (heaping) crumbled blue cheese
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Fresh, cracked pepper
1/2 cup peanut oil
Pick through crab to remove shell. Melt butter in sauté pan. Add celery and shallots, and sauté for three minutes. Add wine, stir in flour, and continue cooking, stirring constantly for three minutes. Set aside, and let cool slightly.
Mix together all other ingredients, except crab, egg whites, and cracked pepper. Blend in wine mixture. Gently fold in crab and egg whites. Form into 10 cakes.
Put peanut oil into pan, and get oil hot on medium heat. Add crab cakes, frying approximately three minutes on each side.
Remove from pan, drain on paper towels, and top with cracked pepper. Remove from towels and serve.
2001 Coast Day Crab Cake Cook-Off
Official Rules and Entry Form
1) One entry per person. Each recipe must be an original creation of the contestant.
2) Two pounds of blue-crab meat will be provided to each contestant by the cook-off sponsors. All other ingredients must be provided by the contestants.
3) All cooking appliances and utensils used in the cook-off must be provided by the contestants. A 110-volt electricity source and back-up equipment will be available at the cook-off.
4) Judging will be based on taste, originality, balance of crab meat, and texture.
5) Eight finalists will be selected from all entries by a panel of seafood experts. These finalists will be eligible to compete at the final competition at Coast Day, Sunday, October 7, 2001, in Lewes, Delaware. If one or more finalists are unable to attend the finals, the cooks with the next highest scores will be invited to participate.
6) All recipes entered become the property of the University of Delaware Sea Grant College
Program and Graduate College of Marine Studies. Recipes may be duplicated for the Coast Day audience and used in Coast Day publicity.
7) The deadline for entries is Friday, August 10, 2001.
8) Contestants must register for the cook-off via the official entry form or a photocopy, or include all the requested information on a separate piece of paper and mail to the address below. All finalists will receive confirmation of their entry, directions to the site, and additional instructions for the cook-off by mail.
Mail entry forms to:
Crab Cake Cook-Off
University of Delaware
Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service
700 Pilottown Road
Lewes, DE 19958–1298
Title of Crab Cake Recipe:
List of Ingredients:*
* Recipe must be based on two pounds of crab meat and include amounts of each ingredient.