Entries for the 16th Coast Day Crab Cake Cook-Off are due on Wednesday, August 10, 2005. 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), a plaque, and recognition in the cook-off on Coast Day, Sunday, October 2, at the University of Delaware’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes.
Coast Day is held every year on the first Sunday in October. Sponsored by the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program and Graduate College of Marine Studies, it is an 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 first became part of Coast Day in 1990. Since that time, close to 250 recipes have been submitted by professional and amateur cooks from across the country. They have used all manner of names and ingredients in their quest to concoct the recipe that will win the coveted title of “Delaware’s Best Crab Cakes.”
“If you have ever wanted to try to enter a recipe for a cooking contest, the Crab Cake Cook-Off is a great one to begin with,” says Doris Hicks, seafood technology specialist for the Delaware Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service and organizer of the cook-off.
“It is not unusual for a first-time entrant to make the final eight,” Hicks adds. “If they don’t place the first year, they learn enough about preparing crab cakes at Coast Day, that they can’t wait to try again the next year.”
Last year, Erica Culbert, a resident of Philadelphia, won first place with her “Classic Crab Cakes with Dill Pickle Tartar Sauce.” She used only a few additional ingredients to enhance the crab’s natural flavor in her winning recipe. She served her crab cakes with a distinctive tartar sauce made from finely diced dill pickles and Dijon mustard. ?This year, Culbert has been invited to be a judge for the 2005 competition -- a time-honored tradition in which each year's first-place winner is given an opportunity to judge the following year's crab cake cook-off.
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 costs $4.00. It 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 crab cakes must be made from 100% blue-crab meat. Each finalist will receive two pounds of jumbo lump 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 Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service at (302) 645-4346 or Rita Baty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coast Day 2004 Crab Cake Cook-Off Winning Recipe
FIRST PLACE — “CLASSIC CRAB CAKES WITH DILL PICKLE TARTAR SAUCE”
by Erica Culbert
Classic Crab Cakes:
2 pounds lump crab meat
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup shallots, finely died
5 tablespoons white wine
3/4 cup diced white bread
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
?1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 cup chopped chives
Dill Pickle Tartar Sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup dill pickles, finely diced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
To make Classic Crab Cakes: Sauté butter and shallots over medium-low heat until translucent. Add wine and bread cubes, and stir gently. Sauté for one more minute, and set aside.
Mix mayonnaise, lemon zest, eggs, pepper, and salt in small bowl. Add these ingredients as well as the crab meat and chives to the bread mixture. Gently mix, trying not to break apart the crab meat. Refrigerate mixture for 15 minutes or up to 8 hours. After the mixture sets, form into cakes.
Heat oil over medium heat. Sauté cakes until golden brown.
To make Dill Pickle Tartar Sauce:Stir ingredients until incorporated. Serve with Classic Crab Cakes, and garnish with lemon wedges.
2005 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 jumbo lump 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 2, 2004, 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 Wednesday, August 10, 2005.
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
Entry forms also can be e-mailed to email@example.com.
Daytime Phone (required):
Title of Crab Cake Recipe:
List of Ingredients:*
* Recipe must be based on two pounds of crab meat and include amounts of each ingredient.