What’s Cooking Locally

September 12’s full moon, a week after Labor Day, will bring another harvest of soft-shelled crabs. Likely you won’t have to wait that long, for some shedding occurs under all the phases of the moon.
    For summer’s swansong recipe, we’ve chosen the Lily Pad Café’s Soft-Shell Crab Salad with Summer Squash, Heirloom Tomatoes and Roasted Garlic Tarragon Dressing from the 2011 Maryland Buy Local Cookbook.

Soft-Shell Crab Salad with Summer Squash, Heirloom Tomatoes and Roasted Garlic Tarragon Dressing

Salad and Dressing

1 head of garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
3 tbsp fresh tarragon
1 cup mayonnaise
juice of 1 lemon
8 oz romaine hearts
8 oz spring greens
1 lb cucumber
1 lb heirloom tomatoes
1 lb baby summer squash
4 ears fresh white corn
1 cup buttermilk

    Roast garlic for one hour with olive oil, salt and pepper.
    In food processor, mix mayo, garlic, lemon juice, buttermilk, salt, pepper and fresh tarragon. Blend until desired consistency.
    Seed and chop cucumber. Set aside.
    Blanche corn for 3 minutes in boiling water, cool and take off cob. Set aside.
    In a very hot skillet, heat olive oil and sauté squash and tomatoes until they soften, season with salt and pepper. Set aside.


4 fresh soft shell crabs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
Old Bay seasoning, to taste
4 squash blossoms
salt and pepper, to taste

    Clean and dry soft-shell crabs. In mixing bowl, add flour, cornmeal, Old Bay, salt and pepper. In another bowl, dip crabs in milk and then in flour mixture. Heat oil to 350° and cook crabs on each side for 3 minutes. Place on paper towel.
    In mixing bowl, toss remaining ingredients with dressing. Transfer salad onto serving plate and top with soft shell crab and squash blossom to garnish. Serve immediately.
    Serves 4 people.

    Chef Joann Redden’s The Lily Pad Cafe is located in Denton (Caroline County) in the 1883 Old Schoolhouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places: http://www.lilypadcafe.net
    Download the 2011 Maryland Buy Local Cookbook at www.mda.state.md.us/pdf/cookbook11.pdf.