It's one of the flavors that defines life in the Chesapeake region: Old Bay Seasoning, the blend of herbs and spices that's been made in Maryland for nearly a century. In some ways, Old Bay is enjoying a renaissance; a Maryland brewery even recently released an ale brewed with the seasoning. But the company behind Old Bay itself, McCormick, is contemplating a move out of Maryland. Kojo explores the link between spice and regional identity - and what Old Bay has contributed to the culinary DNA of the Chesapeake region.
Featured Recipe: Steamed Crabs for 8
by Spike Gjerde/Woodberry Kitchen/Baltimore MD
This recipe calls for Old Bay or a housemade spice equivalent; Spike's spice recipe is also below.
4 dozen large blue crabs from the Chesapeake Bay
4 bottles of beer + water
Old Bay or your secret recipe to taste
- Pour beer into a crab steamer/large pot with insert.
- Pour enough water in to fill up to right below insert.
- Bring beer and water to a boil.
- Layer in feisty (i.e. live) crabs with Old Bay and crab seasoning.
- Cover, and once steam builds up, cook for 20 minutes. Dump out on a newspaper covered table.
Spike's crab seasoning:
½ cup sea salt
3 tbsp black pepper corns
2 dried fish peppers
2 tsp mustard seed
2 tbsp dried lovage
Grind everything together in a blender.