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Crab soup captures a taste of the shore

Thursday, August 22, 2002

By Betsy Kline, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Today's recipe was inspired by a crab soup sampled by Thomas Lacey during a family vacation at the Atlantic shore.

Thomas and his wife, Eileen, their five grown children and several of their seven grandchildren congregated recently at Dewey Beach, Del., and in their travels dined on a crab soup their taste buds wouldn't let them forget.


Back home, Thomas went to work in their West Mifflin kitchen "to develop a reasonable facsimile." He shares that streamlined recipe with us today. It's a spicy bowlful of crab meat redolent of Old Bay Seasoning, that seafood-friendly spice mix comprising celery salt, paprika, black and red peppers, dry mustard, mace, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, clove and ginger.

Thomas was quite pleased with the result of his experiment, which he says "comes pretty close" to the soup he was trying to imitate. "And it always tastes better at home," he laughs.

He and Eileen are no strangers to the kitchen. In their retirement, they take turns dabbling at the stove. A former professor of art at the University of Pittsburgh and Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Thomas especially enjoys doing variations on classic Chinese dishes. Eileen is a former a home economics teacher and dietitian with the West Mifflin School District.

Thomas earns a free cookbook from the PG for his culinary efforts. You can, too. Just read the rules below.

But first fortify yourself with Maryland Crab Soup. We served this soup with a crunchy green salad to counterbalance the spiciness.

Feel free to play with the spice levels. It will make a great cold weather meal.

Maryland Crab Soup

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning, or less to taste, see note
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 2 6-ounce cans fancy crab meat
  • 1 small sliced onion
  • 1 16-ounce can diced, seasoned tomatoes (we used tomatoes seasoned with basil, garlic and oregano)
  • 2 cups chicken broth, thickened with 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Dissolve Old Bay Seasoning in rice vinegar. Add crab meat and marinate for 5 minutes. Put in a medium pot. Add onion. Dissolve cornstarch in chicken broth and add to pot, along with the tomatoes. Simmer covered for 15 minutes and uncovered for another 5 minutes. Ready to serve when heated through. Makes 2 to 3 servings.

Tester's note: This combination is highly flavorful and very spicy. If you're not sure if you'd like Old Bay Seasoning, use only a tablespoon or less at first.

Betsy Kline can be reached at bkline@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1408.

Do you have an entree, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer (not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

The PG tests all recipes and if we select your recipe for publication, you'll receive a free selection from our cookbook grab bag of current releases.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number.

Or e-mail to: nanderson@post-gazette.com. Questions? Call 412-263-1760.

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