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Maryland Crabs

What to expect on your plate | A crab-dish glossary

Want to try something so old it's new again, but afraid you might end up with something strange on your plate? Use this glossary to determine which old-fashioned crab recipes might whet your appetite.

Crab cakes: This Maryland staple is simple: crab meat mixed with a few ingredients, such as mayonnaise, bread crumbs and Old Bay, for seasoning and binding (aka "filler"), shaped into a patty, then broiled or fried.

Crab casserole: Crab mixed with several other ingredients, including binders like mayonnaise and egg, spread in a baking dish and baked.

Crab dip: Crab dip can be hot or cold, showcasing crab mixed with ingredients like mayonnaise and/or cream cheese. It's often topped with melted cheddar and served with crackers, bread or vegetables for dipping.

Crab imperial: A luxurious combination of crab, seasoning, egg and mayonnaise, imperial can be served on its own or as a topping for another protein, such as rockfish or steak.

Crab fluff: A soft shell crab, topped with a crab cake, battered and deep fried, crab fluff is a traditional favorite, even if it isn't traditionally "fluffy." (Some restaurants simply batter and fry the crab cake without the soft crab.)

Crab melt: A split English muffin topped with a crab cake and melted cheese, the crab melt is a cheesy, open-faced twist on the crab cake sandwich.

Crab mousse: A gelatin-based, molded dip, served with crackers, that combines crab with mayonnaise, cream of mushroom soup and cream cheese.

Crab salad: A cold salad lightly mixing crab meat with something to bind (such as mayonnaise) and season, crab salad is often served over greens or with fruit.

Crab soup: This comes in two forms: cream of crab (often spiked with sherry) and the spicier, tomato-based Maryland crab, which is like a vegetable soup with crab and seasoning added.

Deviled crab: Deviled crab is similar to a crab cake, but sprinkled with bread crumbs and baked, rather than broiled or fried.

Fried hard crab: A cleaned crab, stuffed with its own crabmeat mixed with seasoning and binding agents, is battered and deep-fried for a fun take on hard crabs.

—Kit Waskom Pollard

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