Entries for the 18th Coast Day Crab Cake Cook-Off are due on Friday, August 10, 2007. 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 7, at the University of Delaware’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes.
Sponsored by the Delaware Sea Grant College Program and the University of Delaware College of Marine and Earth Studies, Coast Day is an annual educational festival and showcase for Delaware’s rich marine resources. The event typically attracts more than 10,000 visitors, and it has won state and national awards for its efforts to promote environmental education and stewardship. This year marks the 31st anniversary of Coast Day, which is always held on the first Sunday in October.
The cook-off first became part of Coast Day in 1990. Since that time, over 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.”
“It is amazing that after 17 years, participation is still strong in the Coast Day Crab Cake Cook-Off, with both professional and amateur cooks entering,” says Doris Hicks, seafood technology specialist for the Delaware Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service and organizer of the cook-off. “So many people seem to be into cooking today — maybe it’s the influence of all the cooking shows on television.”
Hicks adds that grocery stores have many ingredients that can update a traditional recipe or, she says, “With all these wonderful ingredients you can be a creative as you want. The trick is to come up with a recipe that complements the crabmeat without overpowering it.”
Last year, Lynne G. Laino of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, won first place with her “Caribbean Coconut Crabcakes with Peppery Pineapple Glaze.” Laino has been invited to be a judge for this year’s 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.
Award-winning recipes are published in a commemorative Coast Day Crab Cake Cookbook. The cookbook will be updated in 2007 to include recipes from the first 17 years of the Crab Cake Cook-Off. The spiral-bound booklet costs $6.00. It will be available at Coast Day and 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.
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, visit the Delaware Sea Grant web site (www.ocean.udel.edu/seagrant) or contact the Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service at 302-645-4346 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coast Day 2006 Crab Cake Cook-Off Winning Recipe
“Caribbean Coconut Crabcakes with Peppery Pineapple Glaze”
By Lynne G. Laino
Caribbean Coconut Crabcakes
2 pounds jumbo lump blue crab meat
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
¾ cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
5-6 dashes tabasco
1 sleeve saltines, finely crushed
1-1/3 cups shredded coconut
2/3 cups Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
Canola oil for frying
Peppery Pineapple Glaze
1 cup pineapple preserves
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1-2 dashes cayenne pepper
To make glaze: In a bowl, stir together pineapple preserves, Dijon mustard, lime juice, ginger, red pepper flakes, and cayenne. Set aside.
To make crab cakes: Pick over crab meat, removing any shells or cartilage. Sprinkle with lime juice.
In a large bowl, beat egg slightly then stir in mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire and tabasco. Add crab meat and cracker crumbs and lightly toss until well combined. Shape into 12 equal size cakes.
Put shredded coconut and Panko in a pie plate and stir to blend. Coat crab cakes with coconut/Panko mixture. Fry in canola oil over medium high heat until golden on both sides.
Drizzle with spicy pineapple glaze. A fresh flower makes a great garnish. Paired with a mojito, this is the perfect summer dinner.