Maryland Crab Imperial Stuffed Ham

This is one of the first recipes I ever cooked when I started hosting dinners after college. It has evolved since the original recipe (from my mom’s kitchen) and has become a marriage of her recipe and Paula Deen’s crab imperial used in her Lady and Sons Crab-Stuffed Shrimp (also highly recommended, but rich).

What I like about this recipe so much is after the first time you make it, it’s really not hard at all, and easily impresses. This is also a dinner that can be made in less than an hour. It was a great dinner to make at the beach! I’ve served it over the years with twice baked potatoes, scalloped potatoes, garlic mashed potatoes and/or roasted asparagus.

Maryland Crab Imperial Stuffed Ham

1 lb. backfin or lump crabmeat
8 full, thin slices of peppered or honey baked deli ham
3 green onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
3 pieces of bread
2 tablespoons mayo
1 teaspoon mustard
1 egg
Milk
Sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
Parsley
Old Bay seasoning

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small pan, melt butter and saute green onions and green pepper until soft.

In a large bowl, saturate the pieces of bread with milk until just absorbed. Combine in the bowl the sauteed green onions and green pepper, crabmeat, mayo, mustard, egg, one bunch of freshly chopped parsley and Old Bay seasoning to taste.

As a side note, I literally “dump” the Old Bay into my crab imperial. If you’ve never cooked with it before and don’t know your preference, or don’t like spicy food, I’d start off with 1-2 tablespoons. You can always sprinkle more on top ham rolls after they have cooked.

Scoop crab imperial into the center of a piece of deli ham, and roll. The recipe usually makes enough crab imperial for 7-8 deli ham slices.

Spray a glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and line with crab rolls. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Add shredded white cheddar cheese (or white American cheese like my mom uses) to top off ham rolls and bake for 3-5 additional minutes until the cheese is melted and hot and bubbly.

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Maryland Shrimp Pasta Salad

I had a very relaxing 4th of July at the beach… minus the really weird tan lines, sleeping in an igloo (not literally, but it felt like it!) and coming home sick. It was filled with sun, friends, drinks and good food. It had me thinking of all the summers spent at the beach throughout high school and what I love most about summer.

Nothing reminds me more of summer growing up in Maryland than steamed crabs and BBQs. When I moved to North Carolina, my piece of summer away from home came to be my mom’s Maryland shrimp pasta salad. It was always a staple side dish at all family BBQs and steamed shrimp was the closest to Maryland seafood I could get my hands on, especially since I kept an economy-sized container of Old Bay in my spice cabinet (yes, I have a spice cabinet… a rack just doesn’t cut it!).

I don’t think this recipe is “famous,” but it’s become famous among friends and at parties I’ve taken it to as a side dish. I’ve passed the recipe on more times than I can count–it’s easy breezy and you only really need to know how to boil pasta. It’s even been eaten alone as seconds and thirds, or as a cold salad for lunch. I’ve also made this recipe vegetarian by eliminating the shrimp and adding additional fresh vegetables. The list of vegetables I use isn’t all-inclusive, so feel free to experiment with what you like!

Maryland Shrimp Pasta Salad

1 lb. shaped pasta (Rotini or Trio Italiano)
2 stalks celery, chopped
2-3 carrots, shredded
1 small Vidalia onion, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
1 bell green pepper, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 lb. steamed shrimp, peeled (optional)

Dressing

1 cup mayo
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Old Bay to taste

Boil and cook pasta. Drain and chill immediately using cold water and ice cubes. Chop the vegetables and peeled shrimp in a large bowl.

Mix and pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetables and mix well. Next, season with Old Bay to taste (Note: As a Marylander, I literally *dump* Old Bay on it when I make it… easily 6-10 tablespoons if not more. It also depends on if you have Old Bay on the steamed shrimp already.)

Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving. See, didn’t I say it was super easy?!