When the publishers of the new "Maryland Seafood Cookbooks," Jim Dolan and Pat Hornberger were in college, they used to eat together often at Phillips Seafood House in Ocean City. But it wasn't until many years later that the two old friends' love of seafood and of Maryland brought them together once again to revive this series of classic state cookbooks.
The original "Maryland Seafood Cookbooks" were first printed by the Department of Agriculture's Office of Seafood Marketing in the early 1970s as a promotional tool to help acquaint people all over the world with the riches of Maryland seafood. The thin, fewer than 80-page books with recipes for Maryland crab cakes, steamed crabs and other traditional Maryland fare, were favorites of seafood lovers for many years. But printing by the Office of Seafood Marketing was discontinued in late 1991, due to privatization of the printing presses of Maryland Magazine, where the books had been printed.
In his annual round of holiday gift-giving in 1992, Mr. Dolan learned that the cookbooks were out of print. He considered that "a loss to the state," because the original cookbooks, like the newly reprinted ones, promoted Maryland as a destination as much as they promote Maryland seafood. He saw the business potential in re-printing what he describes as the "best selling seafood cookbooks in Maryland." He contacted his old buddy, ** Mr. Hornberger, who had been the publisher at Maryland Magazine.
The two, now partners, submitted the winning bid to bring out new editions of the existing cookbooks: "Cookbook I: Traditional Tidewater Recipes," "Cookbook II: Favorite Recipes from Maryland" "Chefs and Cookbook III: Contemporary Cuisine." The new series has just arrived at area bookstores (Eastwind Publishing, $6.95). A portion of all sales are distributed to the Maryland Department of Agriculture.
They added a few new touches, although the majority of the recipes in Volumes I and III were found in the original volumes. In the works are future volumes including one on low-fat seafood cooking.
From Maryland Lady Crab Cake to Maryland Clam Chowder, the recipes in "Cookbook I" represent the easiest and best ways to enjoy Maryland seafood. "The whole idea is simplicity," says Mr. Hornberger. Even a beginner could master most of these dishes, which make use of all of the best Chesapeake Bay has to offer -- Maryland Blue Crabs, lobster, oysters and clams.
All three cookbooks offer newly compiled nutritional information and several "how to" charts describing how to shuck clams, open oysters and clams and fillet fish. Mr. Doland and Mr. Hornberger, who admit to being avid sailors themselves, have also added full color photos, taken by Maryland photographers, of the workboats that collect these delicacies from the sea.
"Cookbook II: Favorite Recipes from Maryland Chefs," includes the most popular dishes at restaurants such as Obrycki's and Phillips. The new version includes recipes from newer restaurants, and many, but not all recipes from closed restaurants were removed.
"Some recipes, like the Hot Crab Flake Sandwich, from the Merchant Club have not been replaced. Because it's such a great recipe, we kept it in," Mr. Hornberger says. Volume II also has a lengthy "how to" section with instructions on freezing and cooking times for seafood.
Here are a few of Mr. Hornberger's and Mr. Dolan's favorite recipes from the books.
Maryland Lady Crab Cakes
Makes 6 crab cakes
1 pound Maryland crab meat
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 large egg (or 2 small)
about 1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
margarine, butter, or oil for frying
Remove all cartilage from crab meat. In a bowl, mix bread crumbs, eggs, mayonnaise and seasonings. Add crab meat and mix gently but thoroughly. If mixture is too dry, add a little more mayonnaise. Shape into 6 cakes. Cook cakes in frying pan, in just enough fat to prevent sticking, until browned; about 5 minutes on each side.
NOTE: If desired, crab cakes may be deep fried at 350 degrees, two to three minutes, or until browned.
Makes 4 servings
1 pound Maryland backfin crab meat
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion juice
1/8 teaspoon liquid hot pepper sauce
1/8 teaspoon thyme
4 thin slices Smithfield ham (about 2 ounces)
Remove cartilage from crab meat. Melt butter in skillet. Add crab meat, lemon juice, salt, pepper, onion juice, pepper sauce and thyme. Saute briefly until crab meat is just heated through. Cover crab meat with ham slices. Cover skillet and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes until edges of ham curl and flavors are well-blended. May be served as is or on toast.
-- from Phillips Crab House, Ocean City
Baked Stuffed Shrimp
16 jumbo shrimp
1 pound backfin crab meat
2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs, seasoned with 1/4 teaspoon seafood seasoning
JTC 1 beaten egg
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease oblong glass baking dish. Peel, devein, and clean shrimp, leaving tails intact. Gently mix seasoned crumbs with crab meat, then add beaten egg, again mixing gently.
Divide crab meat mixture into 16 portions. Top the shrimp with mixture, covering the shrimp as completely as possible, leaving the tails free. With a spatula, spread the mayonnaise lightly over the topping. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake 20 minutes, or until shrimp is cooked and top is golden brown.
-- from Obrycki's Crab House and Seafood Restaurant