Patricia Jones of Catonsville was in search of the recipe for the crab imperial that was served at the Garrison Grill, a restaurant located near Walbrook Junction in West Baltimore during the 1950s.
No luck tracking down the owner or anyone else who might have the specific recipe from the Garrison Grill, but several readers saw Jones' request and sent in their favorite recipes for crab imperial. Ester Marsiglia of Pikesville sent in a recipe that comes from the "Seafood Cookery" booklet published by Home Services of Baltimore Gas and Electric in the 1950s, and it is an excellent example of a traditional Maryland recipe.
A classic Maryland-style crab imperial should have very few ingredients and requires minimum seasoning. It is the crab meat that is the focus of the dish. The blue crab that is harvested from the Chesapeake Bay, primarily between the months of May and September, makes, in my opinion, the best crab imperial and crab cakes. Sadly, these crabs are becoming scarcer every year. Certainly Gulf coast crab or even foreign crab meat can be used in its place, but nothing really matches the sweetness of the Chesapeake blue crab.
When working with crab meat, take care not to pull apart the lumps of meat and always use a fork when combining your ingredients. Never break apart or mash the crabmeat. This dish is a breeze to make, and if you are prepared to splurge for fresh, quality crab meat, almost nothing tastes more delicious.
Donna Marsh of Hanover remembers getting the best meat-sauce pizza at Enses restaurant on Richie Highway in Glen Burnie. She was hoping that someone might have the recipe to share. She says that these days, all the pizza places call a cheese pizza with ground beef on it a meat-sauce pizza, but its not the same as Enses', which used a true meat sauce.
Ronald Jasinski from New Hartford, N.Y., is looking for a recipe for lamb and beans. His uncle used to make it for the family, but he has since died and no one in the family can locate his recipe.
If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate piece of paper and be sure to include your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Name and hometown must accompany recipes in order to be published. Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letter and recipes may be edited for clarity.
Makes 4 to 6 servings, depending on size of dish used
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 tablespoon green pepper, optional
4 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Tabasco sauce
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 pound backfin or lump crab meat, bits and shells removed
Buttered bread or cracker crumbs
Simmer onion and green pepper in butter or margarine until tender. Combine with all other ingredients, except crab and bread crumbs. Then gently mix in the crab meat, taking care not to break up any lumps, and fill individual ramekins, cleaned crab shells or a larger casserole dish with the mixture. Top with the buttered bread or cracker crumbs.
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Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned.