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Famous Dishes of Maryland – Part 2

In part one of our culinary journey across Maryland we chewed on some excellent Caramel Creams, devoured a Maryland Pit Beef sandwich, and sampled the delights of some Baltimore Coddies. In this blog we continue our culinary exploration of this great state and unearth some more excellent regional dishes.

Smith Island Cake

Not many places have their own official dessert that is recognized by officials, but in Maryland they have the Smith Island Cake that has been adopted as the state’s official dessert. Indeed it is a towering treat as desserts go, and it can be traced back to the 1800s.

It is quite a complicated confection, consisting of eight thin layers of cake interspersed with other layers of delicious chocolate-fudge. A company called Smith Island Baking Co is the specialist in producing the state’s official dessert and sells this wonderful cake online and at its store in Crisfield.

Old Bay

Old Bay is not so much an actual food, it is a very special seasoning that has cult status in Maryland. Nobody really knows what is in this spice mix that was originally invented by a German spice merchant, apart from its current producer and spice company McCormick.In Maryland Old Bay is a recognized condiment, and is regularly put on all food like most people would add salt and pepper. Without doubt it is one of the most important flavors in Maryland.

Lake Trout

Sometimes it is a little difficult to figure things out in Maryland, especially when it come to food. Lake Trout is one of these conundrums, it is not trout and does not come from a lake. This highly popular food is loved in Baltimore and is actually silver hake.

Lake Trout is traditionally dipped in cornmeal batter and then deep fried. The resulting dish is golden brown and very crunchy outside with perfectly steamed white fish inside. It is the Baltimore version of English fish & chips and just as tasty.

Steamed Blue Crab

No food journal about Maryland would be complete without mentioning the most recognized and popular food in the state, Blue Crab. As with any top shellfish, quality ingredients should be simply prepared and cooked. And the best way to cook this special crustacean is to simply steam it.

When these prized sweet beauties come out of the steamer they are simply dusted with a seasoning such as Old Bay so as not to cover the delicate flavor of the succulent crab. The real way to eat steamed crab is on paper and with the hands and it can get messy, but it is all part of the fun.

Crab Cakes

As well as the unbelievable quality of steamed blue crab, another specialty of Maryland is Crab Cakes. Crab Cakes are a way of enjoying the fantastic crab without getting messy. And the best ones contain large chunks of fresh crab with little additional bulking.

The little golden packages of loveliness can either be grilled, baked, deep fried, or sauteed and are generally served with fresh tartar sauce and a squeeze of lemon all over the top. There are many other great dishes that are special to Maryland and the only way to sample them all is to take a trip out to the Atlantic Coast.  

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