PREPARE SOME Maryland seafood, serve it with locally grown vegetables and toast the meal with a glass of wine from one of the state's several vineyards, and what do you have? You've got "Maryland's in Season" a month-long promotion touting state-grown seafood, produce and wine.
The promotion is being sponsored by The Restaurant Association of Maryland, the Association of Maryland Wineries and the Maryland Department of Agriculture.
"By the end of the program, diners will realize how much of the food they order comes from right here in Maryland" said Marcia Harris, executive vice president for the restaurant association. The celebration will take place Aug. 5 through Sept. 2 in over 30 restaurants statewide. For more information call the association at 1-800-874-1313.
At a kick-off party held Monday afternoon at Harrison's Pier 5, local restaurants and vineyards were on hand to show off their best cuisine.
The Bayou Restaurant from Havre de Grace served soft shell crabs stuffed with crab meat and a knock-your-socks-off strawberry pie that had everyone raving.
Albert Copp of Woodhall Vineyards and Wine Cellars Inc. of Sparks poured glasses of Maryland wine, including a delicious Seyval, a white wine.
The Blue Crab Restaurant in Cambridge was dishing out generous portions of one succulent lump crab pasta salad. They generously agreed to share the recipe with us. See below.
Paula Kreuzburg, who manages Mrs. K's Toll House in Silver Spring, said she created this Chicken Chesapeake recipe just for the Maryland promotion. Mrs. K's was started by her great-grandparents in 1927. The restaurant has been at its present site, a 100-year-old toll house, since 1930.
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
6 thin slices Smithfield ham
8 ounces backfin crab
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
3 --es Tabasco
3 --es Worcestershire sauce
3 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
3 ounces bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together backfin crab, onion, mayonnaise, Old Bay, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce. Mix gently so that the lumps of crab don't break apart.
Make a long cut, lengthwise down the center of the thickest side of the chicken breast. Don't cut all the way through -- you want to create a pocket to hold the stuffing. Stuff the pocket with one-sixth of the crab meat mixture.
Spread ham slices on the bottom of a long casserole dish or six individual dishes. Place stuffed chicken breast on ham. Season with pepper to taste. Mix together the Parmesan and bread crumbs. Sprinkle one-sixth of the cheese and crumb mixture over the chicken breast.
Bake for 25 minutes or until golden. Serves six.
This delicious recipe is from the Blue Crab Restaurant in Cambridge.
Lump Crab Pasta Salad
1/2 pound cooked pasta
1 pound lump crab meat
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1 cup tiny broccoli florets
1/4 cup green onions
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 cup low-calorie Italian dressing
1 tablespoon lemon juice
White wine vinegar, optional
Slivered almonds, optional
Lemon wedges, optional
Fresh parsley, optional
Combine pasta with all ingredients except crab meat. Add a little white wine vinegar if salad seems too dry. Season to taste. Chill well. Toss salad before serving and gently fold in crab meat. Serve on bed of lettuce and garnish with slivered almonds, lemon wedges and fresh parsley if desired. Serves four.