Vic and I consider ourselves crab experts having lived on both east and west coasts as well as near the Gulf Coast of Texas.
So, which crabs are the best – the large Dungeness crabs from the cold waters of the Pacific or the smaller blue crabs from the Atlantic or Gulf coasts?
To settle this I will apply the Brahms Symphony test. Some years ago I asked my music theory teacher which symphony by Johannes Brahms was her favorite. “Which ever one I played or heard last” she replied with a wry smile.
So with that said, whichever crab I enjoyed last will remain in my memory as the best crab as long as it is fresh.
Crab and corn have a natural affinity for each other as I said in our post on Chilled Cream of Corn and Crab Soup with Oregon White Truffle Oil.
Corn is at its best in the hot summer months and, lucky for us, it freezes well so we can pair it in the cooler months when fresh Dungeness crab is at its best.
Chowders are those rich, thick, stick-to-your-ribs soups usually made with fish, clams or corn along with potatoes and onions swimming in a broth liberally laced with milk, cream or both. Building this potage on a foundation of bacon seems like the perfectly natural thing to do so we will.
Dungeness Crab and Corn Chowder
Adapted from an Old Bay recipe
For 6-8 healthy servings
- ¼ pound smoked bacon cut into ½ pieces
- 2-3 tablespoons butter
- 3 medium baking potatoes peeled and cut into ½ inch dice
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 ribs of celery, finely chopped
- 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 5 teaspoons OLD BAY® Seasoning
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 1 large bay leaf
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 5 cups whole milk, half & half or a combination of both.
- 4-5 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 1 pound fresh crab meat picked over to remove any pieces of shell or cartilage
- Melt the butter in a large sauce pan or stock pot over medium heat.
- Add the bacon pieces and cook, stirring occasionally until bacon is fully cooked but not crisp.
- Add potatoes, onion, celery, bell pepper, Old Bay Seasoning and the bay leaf.
- Continue cooking, stirring frequently until potatoes become tender.
- Sprinkle the flour over all while stirring constantly for a couple of minutes.
- Add the milk and chicken stock while continuing to stir.
- Bring to a boil then add the corn and crab.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-8 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaf and serve.
This will be wonderful served with a nice Oregon Pinot Gris, Dry Riesling or even a Grüner Veltliner along with some crusty bread and a green salad.