The Crab Cake Cook-Off, sponsored by the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program and Graduate College of Marine Studies, has become a time-honored tradition at UD’s annual Coast Day festival, which is held on the first Sunday in October. Although the cook-off is still a few months away, now is the time to start fine-tuning and taste-testing your recipe.
Entries for this year’s Crab Cake Cook-Off are due Friday, August 15, 2003. Eight finalists will be selected from these entries to 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 5, at UD’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes.
Coast Day is the UD 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 was established in 1990. Since that time, recipes with all manner of names and ingredients have been submitted 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.”
“The cook-off is now in its 14th year, and it is as popular as ever,” says Doris Hicks, seafood technology specialist for UD’s Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service and organizer of the cook-off. “Every year brings us new contestants who dazzle the eyes, noses, and taste buds of our judges. Family recipes or those using the latest ingredients often are contenders for prizes.”
Last year, Jo Dryden of Georgetown, Delaware, won first place with her “Calypso Crab Cakes.” Her winning crab cakes featured a tasty blend of herbs and vegetables, coated with grated potato and Cajun seasoning and served with fresh fruit salsa. This year, Dryden has been invited to be one of the judges at the competition.
In 1999, the 10-year anniversary of the Crab Cake Cook-Off 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 Public Education Office in Newark at (302) 831-8083 or the Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service in Lewes at (302) 645-4346. The cookbook costs $4.00.
The crab cakes must be made from 100% blue-crab meat. Each finalist 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.
For a complete set of contest rules and an entry form, or for more information, contact the UD Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service at (302) 645-4346 or Rita Baty at email@example.com.
Coast Day 2002 Crab Cake Cook-Off Winning Recipe
FIRST PLACE — “CALYPSO CRAB CAKES”by Jo Dryden, Georgetown, Delaware
2 pounds blue crab meat
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons salad dressing
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 additional egg whites (only), beaten
2 cups grated, raw, white potato
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
2 cups peanut oil
Jo’s Fresh Fruit Salsa:
1 medium peach, chopped
1/2 cup fresh strawberries
1/2 cup pineapple tidbits
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
To make crab cakes: Sauté first four ingredients in large frying pan. Add crab meat, mix gently, and refrigerate. Mix next eight ingredients in large bowl. Add to the chilled sautéed mixture, and form into crab cakes (3–4 ounces each). Dip the crab cakes in egg whites, and coat with potatoes and Cajun seasoning. Fry in hot peanut oil until golden brown.
To make fruit salsa: Mix all ingredients, cover, and refrigerate. Sprinkle with grated lime rind when serving.
To serve: If desired, serve crab cakes with fruit salsa.
2003 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 5, 2003, 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 15, 2003.
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
Address: Title of Crab Cake Recipe:
List of Ingredients*:
* Recipe must be based on two pounds of crab meat and include amounts of each ingredient.