The Coast Day Crab Cake Cook-Off, sponsored by the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program and Graduate College of Marine Studies, is calling for entries for this year's contest. Past entries have ranged from the exotic "French Confetti Crab Cakes" to the homegrown "Red, White, and Blue Crab Cakes." Since the contest was established in 1990, recipes with all manner of names and ingredients have been submitted by professional and amateur cooks from the Delmarva area who hope to win the coveted title of "Delaware's Best Crab Cakes."
Last year, Carol Hunter of Wilmington, Delaware, won top prize with her "Just Crab Cakes--Almost." As first-place prizewinner in the 1999 Coast Day Crab Cake Cook-Off, Hunter 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 1, 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. "From the entries, we'll select eight recipes based on originality and an appealing balance of blue-crab meat and other ingredients. The finalists will then participate in the cook-off at Coast Day.
"Over the years, we've seen many creative concoctions and cherished family recipes," continues Hicks. "Predictable ingredients have included cracker or bread crumbs, mayonnaise, and crab seasoning. In addition, we've seen some really interesting variations that have included liquid smoke, portabello mushrooms, mango, or bean sprouts. The crab cakes have been broiled, baked, and fried. One contestant even used an egg-shaped ceramic smoker to prepare his entry."
Last year, Hicks collected 10 years of the award-winning recipes and published them in the 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.
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.
Entries are due Friday, August 11. A complete set of contest rules and an entry form follows, along with last year's winning recipe. For more information, contact the University of Delaware Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service at (302) 645-4346, or Rita Baty at email@example.com.
Just Crab Cakes -- Almost
by Carol Hunter
2 pounds lump crab meat
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and white pepper to taste
1 tablespoon each red, green, yellow pepper for garnish
Pick over crab meat, removing any cartilage. Beat eggs and then add rest of ingredients except olive oil, butter, and bell peppers. Gently mix all ingredients. Make into cakes approximately 2 inches in diameter by 3/4 inches high. Sauté in the olive oil and butter until golden brown on both sides. Garnish with red, green, and yellow bell peppers finely diced.
2000 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 1, 2000, 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 11, 2000.
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.