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Maryland Blue Crab with Old Bay Cider Vinegar

By Bryan Voltaggio August/September 2017 Issue From Moveable Feast Season 4, Ep.5
Colin Clark

Servings: 4 as a starter

Serve Maryland blue crab with other summertime classics like corn on the cob and potato salad. For dessert, make watermelon extra special in a simple way: Cube it and toss with a little chiffonade of fresh mint.


  • 3 Tbs. coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp. celery seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. Espelette pepper or hot paprika
  • 2 tsp. shiitake powder (from dried shiitake mushrooms processed in spice grinder)
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Eight 5- to -6 oz. live Maryland blue crabs
  • Fresh parsley leaves, for garnish
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  • Apple cider vinegar, for serving


  • Combine the coriander seeds, mustard seeds, and celery seeds in an 8-inch skillet and heat over medium-low heat until just fragrant. Set aside to cool.
  • In a 6-quart heavy-duty pot fitted with a steamer basket and a tight-fitting lid bring 1 inch of water to a boil over medium-high heat. 
  • Meanwhile, transfer all the spices, and 2 tsp. of salt to a spice grinder or small food processor and process until finely ground.
  • Generously sprinkle the crabs with the spice mix and immediately place them in the steamer basket and cover. Steam until the crabs are cooked through and turn bright red, 14 to 16 minutes. Remove the crabs from the steamer basket with tongs.
  • Garnish with the parsley leaves and serve immediately with the lemon wedges and cider vinegar.
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  • Bisquick1 | 05/29/2017

    I give Bryan 5 stars for making sure this recipe wasn't tagged as a 'crab boil'...........(which is how it was described in the email I received). No Marylander calls steaming crabs a 'crab boil'. That term is reserved for farther South on the East coast. The cider vinegar with Old Bay is a unique touch that I'll definitely try. Usually steamed crabs are served with just their coat of spices on newspaper with lots of paper towels to wipe your hands on to be able to grab your beer!

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