What is it about eating seafood, and shellfish in particular, that’s so much more satisfying during the summer? Maybe it’s the chance to eat with your hands like a slob at an old-school Maryland shore crab shack. Maybe it’s that we’re already all thinking of the beach and the salt water, so anything tasting vaguely of the ocean is what we want to put in our mouths. Maybe we just like wearing lobster bibs like large, adult, butter-drenched babies. Of all the seafood you can get into this summer, we think you should give shrimp and lobster a break for a bit and get familiar with some crabs. We rounded up some of our favorites, from good ol’ crab cakes, to baked crab mac ‘n’ cheese, to whole steamed crabs in super flavorful sauces that’ll have you licking your plate clean. We weren’t kidding about those bibs, though. You’re probably going to need one.
Seafood and corn make for a natural pair, with that familiar shared sweetness. (Every good clam chowder has corn in it, right?) Here, we deep fry them in a perfectly crunchy beer batter and serve them with a from-scratch cayenne aioli for the perfect summertime snack.
Be sure to serve this dish up with big chunks of bread to sop up all of that good tomato sauce.
No, this is not a recipe for the terrifyingly large coconut crab. (Not many people eat those, and we deeply respect those who do, because those monsters can grow to the size of a dog.) All you need is whatever type of crab meat you can get your hands on, and a few cans of coconut milk.
An Asian comfort dish by way of Maryland, this congee tops the sticky rice porridge with Maryland blue crab meat and Old Bay-seasoned fried wonton skins for a little crunch.
If you think Italians Mad at Food is alarming, you’ve clearly not encountered the population of Maryland when presented with a crab cake recipe that calls for—shudders— filler. This version is all jumbo lump meat, just as God intended.
Soft shell crabs are only available for a short period of time right before the beginning of summer, when crabs are molting as warm weather approaches and they’re getting ready to grow throughout the summer months. So snatch ‘em and fry ‘em up while you can.
Be careful when you add the crabs to hot oil in your wok—you might get some flare-ups from the high heat, so have a lid nearby and move quickly.
The secret to eating blue crabs like a true Marylander is: When you think you’ve used enough Old Bay seasoning, you should add at least another tablespoon or two. Or more. Or maybe a little more. Just a leeeeettle more… there you go, perfect.
Crab mac and cheese is the best argument against the whole “seafood and cheese should never go together” thing.
This cream-cheesy crab dip is the perfect appetizer for your summer barbecue. Serve it up with slices of baguette or crackers.
If you’re using pre-picked jumbo lump crab meat, then this salad comes together in just ten minutes, meaning you can make this your go-to contribution to any last-minute picnic situation this summer.
So. Much. Crab. Bread for soaking up all the delicious white wine broth at the end is an absolute must.
Chef JJ Johnson’s fried rice noodles with crab and pineapple comes together in 20 minutes, so you have no excuse to not make it on a weeknight. (That’s way faster than takeout, and you know it.)
No crab cake sandwich is complete without a tartar sauce or remoulade. Take this one to the next level with crab roe remoulade. Oof.