Karen Russell from Bryan, Texas, was looking for a recipe for cream of crab soup similar to the one she had at a restaurant in Chestertown when visiting the area a few years ago.
Cream of crab is a popular menu item at restaurants all around the Chesapeake Bay region and is as ubiquitous here as clam chowder is along the coast of New England. Recipes for the soup are plentiful, but the best versions are the simple, straightforward ones that allow the sweet and succulent meat from local blue crabs to shine.
Donna Hairston from Baltimore sent in one such recipe that she said comes from the "Hunt To Harbor" cookbook, published by the Junior League of Baltimore. The recipe, credited to the Tidewater Inn in Easton, is a classic. Nothing fancy or complicated — just plain good. Although the recipe does not specify, I would recommend you spring for the lump crabmeat. Also, I bumped up the amount of Old Bay seasoning and substituted dry sherry for the white wine. I found that the soup improved upon standing, as the flavors had a chance to marry a bit. Be sure to reheat it slowly and do not allow it to boil.
Bonita Burbank from Redmond, Ore., is looking for a recipe for a mock apple pie made with Ritz crackers. She said the recipe was popular back in the 1970s, and she would like to be able to make it again for her bingo club.
Della Creighbaum from Plymouth, Ind., is looking for the recipe she has lost for buttermilk pie. She said it was her son's favorite when he was a little boy, and she would like to be able to make it for him again.
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Cream of crab soup
Serves 4 to 6
1 medium onion, minced
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 pint clam juice
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning (or more, to taste)
Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 pint half-and-half or cream
1 pound crab meat
Saute onion in butter until very soft. Stir in flour and gradually whisk in clam juice. Add seasonings, wine and half-and-half. Simmer until flour is cooked and soup thickens, about 15 minutes. Gently add crab meat and heat. Do not boil.