Pairing to Perfection

Robert Morris Inn Partner/Chef Mark Salter details how crab-inspired flavors come together and shares recipes from his personal collection

Intro by Chef Mark Salter |  Photography by Jill Jasuta

When creating crab dishes at The Robert Morris Inn , we are looking to pair side dishes and sauces that complement the sweetness of the Maryland crab. For example, a local white corn sauce or a yellow tomato sauce both pair extremely well with a crab cake. The acidity and the sweetness of the tomato sauce complement the sweet jumbo lump crab (all of our crab is sourced through Joe Spurry at Bay Hundred Seafood) and the richness of the batter that binds it. With the local corn sauce, a splash of white wine in the reduction and a squeeze of lemon cuts the richness of the crab cake, but the sweetness of the sauce prevails. A tip: A simple sprinkling of jumbo lump crab on a salad, paired with the perfect maple mustard dressing, will bring all the flavors together to create a memorable salad, highlighting the jumbo lump crabmeat without overpowering its delicate but sweet flavor.

Crab Spring Roll with Pink Grapefruit, Avocado and Toasted Almonds

Serves 4 

Crab Spring Roll Ingredients
4 sheets spring roll casing (use either brick dough or good egg roll wrapper)
4 oz jumbo lump crabmeat
7 oz Bok Choy
2 slices pickled ginger
1 tsp cilantro, chopped
Juice from ½ lime
½ bunch scallions, sliced
4 egg yolks, beaten
Salt and ground black peppe

Shred the Bok Choy and blanch in boiling salted water or steam for approximately 2-3 minutes. Slice the scallions and blanch for 30 seconds, then squeeze out most of the water. Add the jumbo crab, chopped cilantro, ginger, lime juice, salt and pepper. Lay out spring roll casing and place filling on one-third of casing. Brush the remaining two- thirds of the casing with beaten egg yolks. Roll up the wrapper “egg roll” style. Deep fry in vegetable oil at 350 °F for 3-4 minutes, until golden.

Dressing Ingredients
12 oz pink grapefruit juice
Juice from 1 lime
½ Tbsp sugar
6 oz grape seed oil
1 tsp clover honey
Salt and pepper

Melt the sugar in a small stainless-steel saucepan over low heat. When melted, add the pink grapefruit juice. Reduce the mixture by two-thirds, then whisk in the honey, lime juice and grape seed oil. Lightly season with salt and pepper

Salad and Presentation
1 avocado
1 pink grapefruit
2 oz toasted almonds, sliced
2 oz mesclun greens

Segment pink grapefruit and peel avocado. Place three pieces of grapefruit and three pieces of avocado around the plate. Sprinkle with toasted almonds. Dress the salad with the pink grapefruit dressing and arrange in the middle of the plate. Cut the spring roll in half on the bias and lay on the salad. Drizzle plate with additional pink grapefruit dressing and serve.

Online Exclusive! Crab Salad with English Cucumbers

Crab Salad Ingredients
1 cup mayonnaise
1½ tsp Old Bay
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp English mustard powder
1 lb Maryland jumbo lump crab
3 Tbsp yellow peppers, diced
3 Tbsp scallions, sliced

Dressing Ingredients
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup whole grain mustard
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup salad oil

Garnish Ingredients
1 English cucumber, sliced thin
16 spears of asparagus
4 oz mesculin greens
8 red baby tomatoes
4 yellow pear tomatoes

Method of Preparation
Mix all of the crab salad ingredients together with the exception of crab meat. Carefully fold in the crab meat. Brush the inside of a cookie cutter or mold with olive oil, then line with sliced cucumber. Fill with crab salad then chill in the fridge until ready. 

Maple Mustard Dressing
Mix mustards together. Slowly add the oil and the remaining ingredients.

Blanch the asparagus spears in boiling salted water, then shock in ice water.

Set Up
Remove crab salad from mold, then toss the mesculin greens and the asparagus spears with some of the mustard dressing. Cut tomatoes in half.

Chef Mark Salter

Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with Batons of Zucchini and Squash, Tomato Fondue and Meyer Lemon Butter Sauce

Serves 4

1 lb jumbo lump crab
⅓ cup heavy-duty mayonnaise
1 ½ tsp Old Bay seasoning
2 ½ tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp tarragon, chopped
1 Tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
Zest from half lemon
1 egg
1/8 cup plus 2 Tbsp breadcrumbs (panko)
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs to dip finished crab cake

Method of Preparation
Mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, Old Bay seasoning, tarragon, parsley, lemon juice, lemon zest and the egg. Fold in the crab meat and the breadcrumbs, then rest for one hour before shaping into five half-ounce cakes. Dip shaped crab cake in panko breadcrumbs on both sides, then sauté in olive oil and finish in a preheated oven at 350 ° F for 7-10 minutes.

2 medium-sized zucchini
2 yellow squash
2 shallots, peeled and chopped
1 clove chopped garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp French tarragon, chopped

Method of Preparation
Cut the zucchini and squash into 3-inch-long sticks. Cut and chop the shallot and finely dice the garlic. Sauté the zucchini and squash in olive oil. Add the chopped shallot, diced garlic and French tarragon.

Meyer lemon butter sauce
1 cup white wine
1 shallot, sliced peeled
1 Meyer lemon, zest and slice
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1 small bay leaf
½ tsp black peppercorns
¼ cup heavy cream
2 sticks unsalted butter
Zest 1 Meyer lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil all ingredients, with the exception of the cream and butter, until 2 Tbsp remain. Add the heavy cream. Cook until cream begins to thicken, for approximately 2 minutes. Whisk in the butter, strain and add the grated zest.

Tomato Fondue
4 vine ripe tomatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ onion, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, chopped

Bouquet Garni
Fresh thyme sprig
1 small bay leaf
1 tsp black peppercorns

Method of preparation
Sauté the diced onion and chopped garlic in olive oil. Add the seeded chopped tomatoes, followed by the bouquet garni. Season with a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper. Cook until soft, remove the bouquet garni and spoon on top of the crab cake. Garnish crab cake with picked chervil. CS

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