Did you guys know that March 9th is National Crab Day? It’s true. So, while I’m counting down the days until I’ll be taking the back road to Saxis to buy a bushel of #1’s right off the boat, we’re not quite there yet. Nevertheless,I still wanted to mark the occasion here on the blog by sharing some crab-centric recipe recipe with you guys.
Now, it’s a well known fact that folks here on the Eastern Shore will put Old Bay on just about darned near anything and everything. In fact, I think it’s probably a part of my blood content at this point in my life. My dad had me dipping crabs in vinegar spiked with Old Bay as far back as I can remember, probably even before I started on solid foods. Heh. And, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Whether it’s a more traditional application of the seasoning – like steamed blue crabs or succulent steamed shrimp. To something a little more unconventional- like sprinkled on top of a creamy potato salad or a Chesapeake Bloody Mary. Or maybe by adding a subtle spicy twist to a batch of your homemade caramel corn…
I happen to adore salty and sweet combos to begin with. But add in a little spicy kick with a few savory notes going on (I’m looking at you celery seed), and you really have something quite phenomenal going on.
I’m going to be making batches of this all summer long to take out on the boat with us for our fishing trips and beach days. It stays good for a few weeks if kept fresh in an airtight container, not that it will last that long. Handy to have on hand!
Chesapeake Caramel Corn
1 cup popcorn kernels, un-popped
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Old Bay
Preheat the oven to 250° F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray, set aside.
Pop popcorn using your preferred method, I use and air-popper and have to do two batches. Place the popped popcorn onto the baking sheets.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, mix in the corn syrup, brown sugar and salt. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Boil for 5 more minutes.
Remove the mixture from the heat. Stir in the baking soda, vanilla extract, and 3 tsp Old Bay. The mixture will bubble up and become frothy. Evenly drizzle the caramel sauce over the popcorn on the baking sheets, and use a silicone spatula to gently toss and coat thoroughly. It’s okay if there are some clumps of caramel throughout, it will melt and coat popcorn while baking.
Place in preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes, removing from the oven to stir every 15 minutes or so.
Remove the baking sheets to a wire rack, and season with an remaining Old Bay – about 1 tsp per tray. Stir one last time, and allow to cool to room temperature before placing in an airtight container for storage.