A bounty of delicious seafood is on the menu at Coast Day 1999. Set for Sunday, October 3, at the University of Delaware's Lewes campus, Coast Day is designed to celebrate the ocean's wonders through fun, educational activities, from sea seminars to crab races. Now in its 23rd year, the event is sponsored by the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program and the Graduate College of Marine Studies.
"At the Seafood Pavilion at Coast Day, it's easy to remind folks of the importance of the ocean's fisheries," says Doris Hicks, seafood technology specialist for the Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service. Hicks organizes all the seafood-related activities at Coast Day, from the crab cake cook-off to the seafood chowder challenge. She also lines up area chefs for seafood cooking demonstrations, as well as local vendors who sell products ranging from crab bisque to live lobsters.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Coast Day Crab Cake Cook-Off. To celebrate the milestone, the University's Marine Communications Office is preparing a special anniversary cookbook that will feature every cook-off recipe from the past decade. The cookbook, priced at $3, will be sold at Coast Day.
"It's amazing how many ways you can prepare crab cakes," Hicks notes. "While many of the basic ingredients are the same, such as crab meat, eggs, and cracker or bread crumbs, some cooks have really been creative in the other ingredients they've used, from jalapeños to bleu cheese, diced mango, and fresh mint, to name a few. Each concoction is definitely unique and delicious."
Eight finalists, selected from entries from throughout the region, will begin preparing their crab cake recipes at 11 a.m. Visitors will be able to watch the contestants and sample a morsel or two. Judging takes place at noon, with winners to be announced at 1 p.m. The top prize includes $150, the coveted title of "Delaware's Best Crab Cakes," a plaque, and the opportunity to be a judge at next year's competition.
Also on the agenda is the second annual Seafood Chowder Challenge -- a friendly competition between the First State Chef's Association and the Delmarva Chefs and Cooks Association. Visitors will be invited to sample 2-ounce portions of the chowders and then asked to vote for their favorite. A trophy will be presented to the winning chefs. Clams, donated by Mid-Atlantic Foods in Pocomoke City, Maryland, will be the featured seafood in this year's chowders. The First State Chef's Association also will sell chowder for visitors to take home.
At 11:45 a.m., Lewes resident Linda LaPlante-Beatty, an herbal educator for the past 25 years, will kick off a series of seafood culinary presentations by demonstrating how to cook fish and shellfish with herbs. At 1 p.m., Rodger C. Moore, executive sous chef at Piane Catering and the First State Chef's Association's Chef of the Year, will prepare salmon cakes. At 2:15 p.m., Mark Steele, executive chef at the Lamp Post Restaurant in Lewes and the Delaware Restaurant Association's Chef of the Year, will prepare "New Wave Oyster Chowder" and grilled seafood. The presentations will conclude at 3:30 p.m. with certified executive chef John C. Struzik, from Clayton, who will prepare "Chesapeake Bay Seafood," including rockfish and blue crabs.
Plenty of seafood also will be available for purchase from local vendors. Grotto Pizza will have seafood pizza. The Lamp Post Restaurant will sell crab cake sandwiches, crab soup, and crab bisque; LeCates will offer fresh lobsters; Lewes Crab House will have crab cake sandwiches and crab chowder; the Road Runner Cafe will offer seafood fajitas; and Wings to Go will prepare Buffalo shrimp, fish and chips, and conch chowder.
Coast Day is Sunday, October 3, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the University of Delaware's Hugh R. Sharp Campus, 700 Pilottown Road, Lewes. Admission is free; parking is $2. For more information, contact the Marine Communications Office at (302) 831-8083 or visit our Web site at www.ocean.udel.edu.