Save the broth!
Some foods embody summer time and beckon to be enjoyed outdoors and around a gathering of friends. As a Virginia kid, tearing and picking apart steamed blue crabs heavily seasoned with Old Bay was a memorable culinary treat. Our family also had a knack of playing with the live crabbers, as much as holding crab races.
I don’t want any fights over how to properly prepare and cook Maryland-style blue crabs, the real Maryland way. As long as it is steamed and liberally, and I mean liberally, coated with copious amounts of Old Bay seasoning, I am a happy camper.
In order to create the steam to cook the crabs, one needs a liquid. My mom likes to cook ears of corn in the liquid used for steaming. For this reason, our steaming liquid is simply water (with corn). Some recipes call for adding vinegar, beer, and other goodies, but our family takes a simpler approach.
Steaming liquid as base for crab soup
One element that is forgotten after the crabbing steam, is the actual steaming liquid. This liquid-base used for the steaming process goes through a transfiguration during the cooking process. The juices of the crabs drip from the steaming rack down into the liquid. Droplets of crab goodness full of Old Bay seasoning mix with the water and corn.
At the end of the steaming process, the liquid takes on the deep and yet light flavors of crab, Old Bay, sweet corn and such. This makes for a perfect base for a quick soup.
Call me half-Asian, but nothing should ever be wasted.
Asian inspired crab-infused soup recipe
This crab-infused broth is already fairly salty, so heavy salters are forewarned to taste before adding more salt. For this recipe, there are no precise measurements. Ultimately, add as many of one ingredient as you’d like to create the flavor profile and heartiness to the soup that you desire.
- Crab broth left-over from steaming
- Crab meat, cooked
- Cubes of honey-baked ham
- Tofu, cubed
- Eggs, beaten
- Scallions, diced
- Pinch of brown sugar
- Jalapeno, sliced (optional)
Have the crab-flavored liquid over medium-low heat. Add the cubes of ham, jalapeno (optional) and shallots into the crab broth. Have it gently cook for 10 minutes. This allow the pork flavors and shallots to mix with the liquid. Stir in a pinch of brown sugar to numb some of the Old Bay bite.
Toss into the crab liquid the cubes of tofu, the beaten eggs, scallions, and crab meat. Serve to your group of friends or outdoor family gathering with some bread.
This is an excellent way to start or end any blue crab feast. And more importantly, nothing goes to waste. Enjoy