From the Chesapeake Bay to the Carolinas, this region's seafood traditions pay homage to blue crab, oysters, and clams.

By Julia Rutland and Jacquelyne Froeber
September 03, 2008
Jean Allsopp

Mouthwatering seafood is synonymous with Chesapeake Bay cuisine, but one crustacean tempts our taste buds the most: the blue crab. Its scientific name, Callinectes sapidus, loosely means "beautiful, savory swimmer." In foodie terms, that translates to "delicious."

"Blue crab has a sweet yet hearty taste," says Rebecca Bent, author of Down at the Shore Cookbook and recipe creator for "Mid-Atlantic crab cakes are world-renowned," she says. "The best ones allow the crabmeat flavor to shine." Mini Surf-and-Turf Burgers do just that. The bite-size crab cake has just enough seasoning to make it interesting, and the simple beef patty doesn't distract from the crab.

Blue crab isn't the Mid-Atlantic's only culinary prize. For an eye-opening start to brunch, try an oyster shooter. The spicy dressed-up Bloody Mary mix is among the best we've tried, and even more fun as a shot with fresh-shucked oysters.

Or whip up an authentic clambake. Most beaches won't allow the required sand pit, hot rocks, and loads of fresh seaweed, so consider Rebecca's stovetop version. Steamer clams, potatoes, sweet corn, and sausage marry in a spicy broth spiked with Old Bay seasoning.

Mid-Atlantic Seafood Recipes