When Quentin and I decided to take a walk down to DC’s waterfront “Maine Avenue Fish Market”, I didn’t envision that just a few hours hence we’d be having our first very own crab steam (I recently learned that “crab boil” is not the appropriate term, but let’s face it “crab steam” sounds pretty silly) complete with Old Bay (a pungent spice mix of mustard powder, paprika, celery salt, red pepper flakes, and a host of other ingredients) and cocktail shrimp.
The market was a sight to behold, with huge counters of fresh fish and shellfish everywhere you looked, and a salty, non-fishy scent wafting from the nearby water. Seemingly unaware of their impending fate in a deathly brew of boiling water and Old Bay, that classic Maryland seasoning, blue crabs fearlessly scuttled around, their claws pinching the sellers at every given opportunity.
We settled for a half pound of large shrimp and a dozen bright blue crabbies.
We went for the classic preparations; I boiled the shrimp in a mixture of cayenne pepper, paprika, salt, pepper and a touch of garlic powder (right) while Quentin tackled the crabs, expertly steaming them in a combination of water and a can of ever-classy Bud Light and sprinkling them liberally with the Old Bay (left). I served the shrimp with the classic combo of cocktail sauce and lemon wedges, and we watched as the crabs turned a reddish ochre hue.
With some side accoutrements and plenty of cold white wine, we laid out newspaper on the balcony, munched happily on lots of succulent crab, and thoroughly encrusted our faces and fingernails with plenty of Old Bay.
Seafood Purchased from:
Jesse Taylor Seafood
1100 Maine Ave SW #2 Washington, DC 20024
Old Bay photograph courtesy of http://www.leitesculinaria.com, Cocktail Sauce photograph courtesy of http://www.cavegirlcuisine.com