Classic Maryland Style Old Bay Steamed Shrimp

Steamed Shrimp Seasoned with Old Bay Seasoning
Old Bay Seasoned Steamed Shrimp

Here in Maryland, Old Bay Seasoning is almost as common as table salt so Old Bay is our go to seasoning. Originally Old Bay Seasoning was a seasoning for steamed blue crabs, yet it goes well with many other foods including fish, shrimp, crawfish and chicken.

For a quick, delicious weeknight meal that everyone enjoys, nothing could be easier than Old Bay Steamed Shrimp. This is a really fast meal when made using quick peel cleaned and deveined shrimp.  Or use wild caught Gulf shrimp too.  For real tasty finger food if made with peeled, cleaned and deveined shrimp.

Old Bay Steamed Shrimp Recipe

  1. Combine the Old Bay Seasoning, vinegar and water in a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil. Add shrimp and stir gently. Cover.
  3. Steam until tender; about 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Drain, remove shells.

Serve piping hot with lemon wedges and Old Bay Cocktail Sauce.  If you cannot find Old Bay Seasoning locally, we have Old Bay Seasoning and Old Bay Crab Cake Classic in our online store. Old Bay Seasoning comes in 24 oz, 7.5 lb and 50 lb sizes:

Old Bay Seasoning
Large 24 ounce bottle of Old Bay Seasoning

Spicy Old Bay Seasoned Shrimp

Spicy Old Bay Seasoned Shrimp
Spicy Old Bay Seasoned Shrimp

This is an absolutely delicious recipe for shrimp. It’s among our “keeper recipes”. The picture shows the shrimp served over Cajun Dirty Rice.

2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup julienne onion
1 pound 26/6- shrimp, peeled, deveined
1/2 cup chili sauce
1 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
1 cup chicken stock

Cook onion in oil until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add cleaned shrimp, chili sauce, chicken stock, and Old Bay Seasoning. Cook, turning often for 4 to 5 minutes (or until shrimp are cooked and pink.

Author: Matthew Schroebel

Snow Crabs Legs Seasoned with Old Bay Seasoning

Picture of Snow Crabs Legs with Old Bay Seasoning
Having lived in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US for most of my life, the natural seasoning that comes to my mind for seafood is Old Bay Seasoning. Old Bay is a classic seasoning for Maryland Blue Crabs, Shrimp, and Crawfish. With all of those shelled seafoods that are eaten by hand, you’ll find that the Old Bay is sprinkled on the outside of the seafood. And since there is a shell on the seafood, the seasoning doesn’t get into the meat. So for the seasoning to work, what happens is that the flavor of Old Bay gets into the food by being transferred from outside of the shell to the meat by the hands as the food is eaten. It’s a little messy, but quite tasty too!

One of our favorite seafoods is Snow Crab. The Snow Crab meat has a nice flavor and unlike Blue Crabs, there isn’t too much labor involved in eating the Snow Crab meat. While the Maryland Blue Crab has an aura around these parts, and Crab Feasts are blue crab. Snow Crab has been steadily making it’s way into Maryland Crab Houses and probably for the two reasons just listed, they taste good, and are easy to eat. Since Snow Crab is also already cleaned and cooked, all you really need to do to make them is to heat them up and season.

Adapting Snow Crab to Maryland Style Seafood cooking is quite easy to do and here’s how:

  1. For each serving, you’ll need about 2 pounds frozen Snow Crab legs.
  2. Place the Snow Crabs legs in a large pot – large enough that the Snow Crab Legs can fit inside, and be covered.
  3. Sprinkle a layer of Old Bay Seasoning over the Snow Crab Legs.
  4. Pour 2 quarts boiling water over top of the Snow Crabs, and turn the heat on under the pan.
  5. Sprinkle with some more Old Bay Seasoning.
  6. Cover the pot, bring to a boil, and boil Snow Crab legs over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile melt 1/2 stick of butter in the microwave or in a saucepan for dipping.
  8. Remove the Snow Crab legs from the pot with tongs to a large serving dish.

Serve Snow Crabs with the butter dipping sauce and with Baked Potato and Corn on the Cob.

Close up picture of Old Bay Seasoning on Snow Crab LegsIn case you’re wondering about just how much Old Bay Seasoning you need to put on the Snow Crabs, here’s a picture of the proper amount. This isn’t science, so you can use more or less. But if you use too much, it’s a little more messy then using the right amount. If you happen to use too little, simply sprinkle more over top of the Snow Crab legs. Serve with plenty of paper napkins or toweling as the Old Bay will spread to your hands — but that’s the point and is how the seasoning will get to the seafood, transferring from your hands to the seafood.

About Old Bay Seasoning

Picture of can of Old Bay Seasoning
Old Bay Seasoning has been a favorite in the state of Maryland for decades. Ever since it’s development in late 30s, many have been using it to enhance things from crabs to hamburgers. While the seasoning used to only be enjoyed by Chesapeake Bay residents, its mass production and popularity have allowed it to spread across the country. However, it will always be most popular in Maryland, famous for its crabs, but especially Baltimore, where crabs are eaten most frequently.

Back in 1939, a German immigrant named Gustav Brunn came to America, with the goal of starting a famous spice business. It was him who developed Old Bay seasoning with a primitive spice-grinder and a few basic ingredients. Because he was in Baltimore, and crabs were plentiful, people quickly took to his unique brand of seasoning, and Brunn got to live the American dream. He even named the seasoning after an old steamship line that served passengers and moved cargo on the Chesapeake Bay (Old Bay). It’s been over sixty years, and Brunn’s seasoning still enjoys moderate fame. Unbeknownst to many people, Brunn was one of the many Jews to escape from Germany after Kristallnacht. However, little else is known about the man who invented Old Bay.

Back when Gustav Brunn created Old Bay Seasoning, crabs were so plentiful in the Chesapeake Bay that bars often offered crabs for free, and seasoned with salty seasonings in order to sell more beer to the patrons. Old Bay is just one of these bar seafood seasonings, and is the seasoning that has survived the test of time.

Of course, Gustav Brunn does not make Old Bay Seasoning anymore. His company, The Old Bay Company was sold, and the company which purchased the rights to Old Bay is McCormick & Company [McCormick also a Baltimore, Maryland based spice company], which now manufacturers Old Bay and many variations of it. McCormick sells Old Bay across the nation through it’s distribution channels and has transformed a regional taste into a national product, almost certainly generating millions of dollars a year through their ventures. Besides the classic “Old Bay” seasoning which McCormick markets, the company also produces varieties such as “Old Bay with Lemon and Herb”, “Old Bay with Garlic and Herb”, “Old Bay Crab Cake Classic”, and many more. It’s for certain that McCormick will be here for a long time, perhaps making even new kinds of Old Bay, with new and possibly exotic flavors.

Picture of Old Bay Seasoning
What exactly is in Old Bay seasoning? It is a mixture of different herbs and spices; it contains a multitude of ingredients. If one doesn’t want to buy Old Bay seasoning, they can make it themselves! Old Bay contains mustard seeds, celery seeds, peppercorns, and much more. An official ingredient list for Old Bay seasoning follows:

Celery seeds
Salt
Mustard seeds
Whole black peppercorns
Bay leaves (Laurel)
Whole cloves
Dried Red Pepper (Pimento)
Ginger
Mace (the outer casing of the Nutmeg seed)
Whole Cardamom
Cassia
Sweet Hungarian paprika
Picture of ingredient list in Old Bay Seasoning

As the ingredients list shows, it is quite a tasteful and flavorful seasoning. Recipes for making Old Bay Seasoning at home can be found on the Internet, and many people have changed the recipe to customize it just for them.

Old Bay Seasoning is used for more than just crabs, much more. While as we’ve said Old Bay was developed for serving crabs in the bars of Baltimore, people put it on basically anything, such as popcorn (it would be hard to get the seasoning into a movie theatre though, ha), eggs, salads, fries, chips, hamburgers, other seafood, and more. It really can be used on anything, and there are even people who probably put it on pancakes in place of maple syrup! Of course, the majority of people use Old Bay to season their crabs, and other seafood, which is what it will always be predominantly used for. Old Bay not only brings out the full taste of crabs, but adds additional flavor to the dish. And with the right combination with other seafood seasonings, crabs can taste perfect.

Old Bay isn’t the only seafood seasoning, there are several other pretty famous ones. Another great seasoning is Nantucket Rub, which is used mainly for fish, but can also be used on meats such as chicken, and even on breads. The seasoning contains garlic, lemon zest, peppercorns, tarragon, and dill. It’s is named after how it is used; it is rubbed onto the food. Another fine brand is Zatarain [also produced by McCormick & Co.], which has produced many different kinds of seasonings. Most of the seasonings McCormick produces under the Zatarain line are meant to be used on seafood, and some are to be used exclusively on certain fish, such as shrimp. The Zatarain also includes products other than seasonings, and it is famous all over the United States. Another “Rub” seasoning is Bayou Rub, Cajun Seasoning, and Red beans & Rice. The Zatarain’s Cajun seasoning is used for blackening different meats, mainly poultry and seafood. It contains garlic, paprika, onion, black and red pepper, thyme, oregano, and lemon peel. When mixed with other seasonings, the result can be quite delicious.

Here is a recipe for a Maryland Crab Cake, which uses Old Bay Seasoning. The source of the recipe can be found here: https://www.spiceplace.com/best_maryland_crab_cake.php

1 lb fresh jumbo lump crabmeat
1 egg
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
6 tsp real mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp prepared mustard
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
7 tsp King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning

1. Mix all ingredients except the lump crabmeat.
2. Carefully pick through the crabmeat and remove any remaining shell and cartilage keeping as many lumps intact as possible
3. In a large bowl, gently mix crab and mayonnaise mixture. Shape into 5 or 6 cakes. Place shaped cakes on a cookie sheet covered with non-stick aluminum foil.
4. Broil about 10 minutes until tops begin to brown. Turn and broil other side 2 – 3 minutes.
5. Serve with tarter sauce.

Author: Matthew Schroebel

Delmarva Crab Cake Recipe

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Prepared Delmarva Crab CakeWe have a few crab cake recipes on our web site. On our Old Bay Crab Cake Classic page are links to many of our favorite crab cake recipes.

Our absolute favorite is the crab cake made with Old Bay Crab Cake Classic. We enjoy this crab cake for two reasons. First and foremost because it absolutely tastes great. Second, because it’s easy to make. Mix the seasoning with crab meat, and a little mayonnaise, then cook. It’s that easy.

But sometimes we’re looking for a change of pace and so last night we made Delmarva Crab Cakes which you can find a link to on the Old Bay Crab Cake Classic page. This recipe is a little different then most crab cake recipes because it uses bell pepper in the ingredients. We chose to use red bell peppers since that’s what we had on hand. Note that the Delmarva Crab Cake recipe calls for using 2 pounds of crab meat, so if you are like us and only use one container of crab meat, you’ll need to cut quantities in half.

Our Delmarva Crab Cake recipe made a delicious set of crab cakes. We found we needed to broil them a little longer then the recipe called for. Maybe 12 minutes to the first side and 4 minutes to the second.

We have one other crab cake recipe worth sharing and it’s the Old Bay Crab Cake Recipe that is essentially the the same tasting crab cake as you’ll get from making the crab cakes with Old Bay Crab Cake Classic, except you do the labor and break up the bread pieces. It’s an excellent crab cake, no doubt about it.

Simple seasoned shrimp recipe

Picture of Easy Shrimp RecipeThis is perhaps the easiest recipe we’ve posted since we started our Cooking Blog about 7 months ago. It’s so easy it feels like we’re cheating.

All you need is 2 pounds of thawed precleaned, cooked shrimp, 2 tbsp vinegar, and 1 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning. Drain off any water from the shrimp, and place in a microwave safe bowl. Add the vinegar, and Old Bay Seasoning. Stir to mix the seasonings around and distribute over the shrimp. Microwave for about 2 minutes. Check to see if hot. Stir, and heat longer if needed. Serve with Cocktail Sauce.

New Orleans Style Cajun Seasoned Catfish Recipe

Picture of Cooked Cajun Seasoned CatfishCajun seasoned foods are among the most tastiest foods we eat. The strong blend of spices, and rich color in Cajun Seasonings mix well with many foods, most notable of which are seafood (including shrimp, catfish, crawfish) and chicken. Last night we decided to make Cajun Seasoned catfish, a standard Louisana entree.

We carry two different Cajun Seasonings in our store, one from McCormick Spices, and the other from Tones Brothers. The McCormick Cajun Seasoning is a little more coarse then the Tones Louisana Style Cajun Seasoning, and both provide delicious authentic Cajun flavor. We made our Cajun Catfish Recipe using the McCormick Cajun Seasoning Blend, and you could just as well substitute the Tones Louisana Cajun Seasoning.

Cajun Seasoned Catfish must be one of the simplest main dishes you can make. All you need to do is season the catfish and then cook. We sprinkle a little bit of Cajun Seasoning on a paper plate, then dip a catfish fillet in the Cajun Seasoning, flip the catfish fillet over, and repeat. Cajun Seasoning is a seasoning with a bit of heat, so if you feel you’ve seasoned too much on a single catfish fillet, run a second catfish on the overseasoned first catfish to pick up the seasoning. Or if you really overseasoned, wash the Cajun Seasoning completely off with fresh water, pat the catfish fillet dry, and start over. Speaking of the proper amount of seasoning, we feel 1/2 – 3/4 tsp of Cajun Seasoning per fillet is the right amount and has a little zing. Serve with Red Beans and Rice, or Cheesy Grits. Picture of seasoned Cajun Catfish Fillets

 

Cajun Seasoned Catfish Recipe

  • Cleaned Catfish Fillets
  • 1/2 – 3/4 tsp Cajun Seasoning (per catfish fillet)
  1. Sprinkle Cajun Seasoning evenly over both sides of Catfish Fillet
  2. Cook in a lightly oiled non-stick skillet about 3 – 4 minutes per side, depending on thickness of catfish fillet. Don’t over cook.

 

 

Cacciucco Soup (Italian Seafood Soup)

Cacciucco Soup in a bowl
Back in the olden days, I worked in an Italian themed restaurant doing the low end chores that a lad of 16 would be offered. I actually had a fun time doing menial tasks, and the restaurant had a fun gang to work with. It was a really busy place too. Way back then there were ‘themed’ restaurants. At GD Graffitti Syndicated, the theme was a depression era sleep-easy.

The decor of GD Graffitti’s was a late 1920’s to early 1930’s speakeasy. The waitresses and waiters dressed in gangster outfits, with the menu items appropriately named such as ‘Lefty the Lobster.’ It was a really popular restaurant with a stupendous salad bar that came with the meal. Remember that this was in the olden days, and this was the beginning of the salad bar. Even in the modern era you’d be hard pressed to find a salad bar that could match what Graffitti’s provided, over 200 different items with at least 8 kinds of melons alone.

As part of being the hired help, we’d get a free meal at the end of the night. Generally everyone wanted the higher end foods, but to tell the truth they had a killer soup called Cacciucco that was offered as a main course. It was truly a great soup, and I ate it often. They made it in this huge steam pot that could hold 50 gallons or more of soup. Wow!

Over the years I thought about that soup alot, and my taste buds remembered it well, but I could never remember the name so that I could find a recipe. Well, I finally remember the name, and made the recipe last week, so here it is:

Recipe for Cacciucco Soup
This is a two step recipe.

Step 1 Stock

  • 1 carrot, chopped into large chunks
  • 1 leek sliced thin, white part only
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped in large chunks
  • 2 tbsp Parsley Flakes
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 10 Black Peppercorns
  • 1 can chopped clams
  • 1 cup white wine
  1. Put 2 quarts of water in a large souppot.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, except the wine.
  3. Bring to a bowl, and then simmer for 30 – 45 minutes.
  4. Add the wine, and allow to simmer 5 – 10 minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate.

Step 2 – Soup!

  • 1 small lobster tail (cooked)
  • 1/2 lb codfish
  • 1/2 lb mussels
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
  1. Cut the Lobster tail and the cod into bite sized pieces and add to the stock.
  2. Add all other ingredients (except the mussels), and simmer for 20 minutes
  3. Wash the mussels and add to soup. Cook for about 10 more minutes.
  4. Serve with fresh breadsticks and garlic-butter.

Delicious Old Bay Crab Soup Recipe


Here in our new blog, we’re focusing on cooking home cooked meals with herbs and spices, that are easy to make on a weeknight, are generally low in fat, use the seasonings we sell, and above all taste good. So, tonight we made a different dinner using leftover crabmeat, Old Bay Crab Soup. If we asked 5 of our friends to tell us how they eat blue crabs, we may not hear one that mentions crab soup. Most would likely mention steamed crabs, or crab cakes, but crab soup is a treat in itself and is worthy of honorable mention 2nd place when compared to the most common replies we’d expect. You might ask, better than crab cakes? To which we’d reply, “it depends”. Certainly in terms of having a healthy meal the crab soup wins hands down.

Now here in Maryland, Crab Soup is served at many a restaurant. Lot’s of times it’s served in crab houses as an appetizer and it’s so common that many a grocery store have it regularly in their soup pots at the salad bar. In the all-you-can-eat crab houses, it’s often used as a filler food to reduce the number of crabs you eat. But as far as filler foods go, this is one heck of a treat and it’s a quality meal unlike filler foods like hush puppies, french fries, and french breads.

When we make Old Bay Crab Soup it’s our main dish and not a filler food. Since it’s a great meal in itself and we serve the soup with buttered and toasted sourdough bread. The one special ingredient that we feel makes crab soup so special is the use of Old Bay Seasoning. The unique blend of spices in Old Bay, and its natural affinity with seafood make it the perfect seasoning for crab soup. On spiceplace.com we have two different recipes for crab soup that use Old Bay, Maryland Crab Soup and Delmarva Crab Soup. Both of those recipes make one heck of a lot of soup and aren’t suited for weeknight dinner meals.

So being that it was weeknight and we didn’t have a crowd to serve, we choose not to use either of those recipes, and instead created our own. Here’s how we made our Old Bay Crab Soup:

Start by heating 2 cans of low sodium beef broth and 2 cups water in a 3 quart sauce pan . While the beef broth is heating, dice 1/2 of a medium sweet onion, and 2 stalks of celery. Place the onion and celery in a non-stick frying pan, and cook them over low heat about 5 minutes. Then add the onion & celery to the beef broth, along with 1 1/2 tbsp of Old Bay Seasoning. Once the broth comes to a boil, add 1 cup frozen shoepeg corn kernels, and 1 cup bay lima beans. Allow the corn and lima beans to cook for 5 minutes, then add 1/2 pound of crabmeat. The crab meat doesn’t have to be the premium lump crab meat, but it should be cook quality such as backfin (and not claw crabmeat). Cook for another 5 minutes and serve with toased sourdough bread.

Classic Old Bay Steamed Shrimp

We’re going to switch tracks here from our different foods we cook with Old Bay Seasoning to the more usual. Last night we made the classic meal Old Bay Steamed Shrimp.


Picture of Old Bay Steamed Shrimp

This Old Bay Steamed Shrimp Recipe is a classic and always tastes great. The vinegar taste combines well with the shrimp and Old Bay to tease the palette. It makes a great weeknight meal since it’s so easy to make. We serve these with hush puppies, corn on the cob and cocktail sauce.

Recipe for Old Bay Steamed Shrimp

  • 1 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 lb shrimp
  1. Combine the Old Bay Seasoning, Salt, Water, and White Vinegar in a large saucepan
  2. Place pan over medium heat and bring to a boil.
  3. Add shrimp, mix well, cover, and simmer until tender.

Serve with corn on the cob, and hush puppies