I consider today to be the last day of summer. Here in Maryland, there is already a crispness in the air in the mornings. School buses are on the move, and dare I say it, but I’ve already seen a few leaves changing color. It’s been a wonderful summer for me and my family. We’ve got a new baby on the way (due on Christmas Eve!), had an abundance of fresh seafood, many glorious days at the beach, and plenty of good food on the table. Even though I have not been regular with my blogging, rest assured I still have been putting out “good eats” on the regular. This, my friends, was one of our favorite dishes this summer. Beef tacos and chicken tacos are wonderful, but a good fish taco is on another plane of existence!

Now, of course you could grill or pan sear your fish for a healthier option. But, I gotta give two-thumbs up for the beer batter. I used my husbands home brewed 60 Minute IPA, and the beer flavor really shined through. The fish also stayed crispy long after frying. We were nibbling on fish nuggets long after dinner was over! I like to employ a double-shell technique for these. I had some wonderful blue corn taco shells that I got while in the “big city” a month or so ago. But, they are very fragile. My solution was to wrap a flour tortilla around the corn, and it really does give it a little something extra as far as the texture is concerned. We topped ours with a spicy chipotle ailoi, pico de gallo, and of course the traditional thinly sliced cabbage.

They’ve definitely become a favorite in our household, even with our 2 year old Drew. He couldn’t get enough of the fish, as well as the Spanish rice I served it with (which, I will have to blog on it’s own in another post…it’s insanely good as well!). I see us having this dish in the cold winter months as well for sure!

friedshrimp

Fresh shrimp are very easy to come by here on the Eastern Shore. Shrimp are wonderful, you can virtually do anything you want to with them. I will spare you all any Bubba Blue quotes, but the man did have a good point. I’d go as far as to say they are the most versatile thing in the whole ocean. But, I have to say, my favorite preperation of a shrimp is the good old batter and fry. While I absolutely adore a zesty shrimp scampi, or an piping hot batch of Old Bay-laiden steamed shrimp, there is something to be said about the simplicity of a fried shrimp.

Because shrimp cook so quickly – things easily go awry. The difference between perfectly cooked and shrimp jerky is a matter of seconds. And, nothing is worse than an overcooked shrimp. Well, okay, I’m sure there is something worse…but, it’s pretty damn bad people!

Feel free to use frozen shrimp (I pity the fool!). Just make sure they have been thawed completely before battering and frying.

beer

Father’s Day weekend is usually a big weekend around here. My dad’s birthday usually falls on, or on the day before. And, of course, since the baby has come along we’ve been celebrating Father’s Day. It also kind of signals the beginning of summer. And, for me, nothing says “summer” more than blue crabs from the Chesapeake Bay.

I’ve been eating these for every summer as far back as I remember. My dad, mom, and I would go “trotlining” early in the morning. By 10 o’clock we’d have a bushel of crabs. Now-adays, we live 20 minutes from “The Crab Capital Of The World”. Also known as Crisfield, Maryland. We buy the crabs by the bushel, live, right off the boat.  I don’t know that I’ve ever had a pre-steamed crab, and I don’t know that I’d care to. You just need to make sure you have a large enough steaming vessel to cook them…a 7 gallon turkey fryer is ideal.

crabs

Steamed Blue Crabs

1/2 bushel live blue crabs (4 dozen)

2 cups apple cider vinegar

2 cups beer (any kind will do)

8 cups water

1/2 cup Old Bay (seafood seasoning)

1/4 cup kosher salt

Combine the Old Bay and kosher salt. Combine the water, vinegar and beer in the bottom of a large steamer pot . Add the crabs in, a few at a time, seasoning with a tablespoon of seasoning here and there as you go. Bring the vinegar/water to a boil, then add the steamer basket full of crabs.  Cover. Cook on medium-high heat for 40 minutes. Remove lid, and continue to steam for an additional 5 minutes with the lid off before removing.

Serve on layers of newspaper, with vinegar and melted butter for dipping.

Happy Father’s Day to all you dad’s out there!