This column is a continuing series by Chef Peter X. Kelly of Xaviars Restaurant Group which runs every Thursday.
PIERMONT, N.Y. -- Last weekend, my family and I traveled down to Fredrick, MD for my niece’s wedding. Of course, while there at the height of crab season we wanted to take advantage of partaking in my favorite food. The blue crabs that come from the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland are considered the best in the world and they are truly sweet and delicious.
A backyard picnic table spread with old newspaper is the best place to enjoy these crustaceans served up with plenty of cold beer, butter for dipping and lots of napkins for wiping your hands and face that get caked with the Old Bay seasoning. I have attached my recipe for a traditional crab boil below.
However if you prefer that someone else crack your crab, I highly recommend Dutch’s Daughter Restaurant in Fredrick. The restaurant is "old school” in a manner that seems to be quickly disappearing in this age of fast food and cheap thrills. Comfortable tables with linen, a warm welcome and gracious service are the norm.
The menu lists many items from filet mignon to prime rib, salmon and jumbo shrimp but the specialty is Dutch’s is Maryland crabmeat. Cream of crab soup, crab dip with cheddar cheese, crab imperial and the single best crab cake I have ever had. You know a crab cake is great when there is no need for an accompanying sauce.
These crab cakes seem to be held together by nothing but sweet crabmeat, no filler, no extra ingredients -- just Chesapeake Bay Crabmeat picked of all shell and cartilage. Dutch’s crab cakes are not breaded and fried they are rather gently formed and broiled with butter and served au naturel.
I highly recommend this restaurant if you are anywhere near the Fredrick area, if you are a crab lover like me you will not be disappointed.
BTW they also ship overnight so that you can enjoy these perfect crab cakes without leaving home.
Dutch's Daughter Restaurant, 581 Himes Ave., Frederick MD, (301) 668-9500
Recipe: Hard Shell Crab Boil (From Peter X. Kelly, Xaviar’s Restaurant Group)
- Hard Shell Crabs (Choose large, very lively crabs)
- Bottles of beer ( Your choice)
- ½ Cup white wine vinegar
- 4 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning
- 2 Tbsp.Salt
- ½ Stick melted butter for dipping
- Juice of one lime
Preparation for the Crabs
- In a pot large enough to hold crabs comfortably, place a rack in the bottom of the pot.
- Add beer and vinegar to the pot.
- Place live crabs in layers into the pot while sprinkling with the salt and Old Bay seasoning.
- Cover the pot and steam crabs till shells are bright red approximately 16 minutes.
- Spread old newspaper over eating area and serve crabs with a mallet for cracking the claws.
- Squeeze the lime juice into the melted butter and serve with crabs for dipping.
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