Deadline Aug. 8 for entries in 2014 Crab Cake Cook-Off

July 6, 2014

The 25th annual Coast Day Crab Cake Cook-Off seeks entrants to compete in the popular Delaware culinary tradition at this year’s competition Sunday, Oct. 5, in Lewes.

Recipes must be submitted by Friday, Aug. 8, and eight finalists will be selected to prepare their recipes while vying for cash prizes, the privilege of returning as a judge next year and bragging rights for Delaware’s Best Crab Cakes.

The contest started a quarter-century ago when Doris Hicks, seafood technology specialist with the Delaware Sea Grant College Program, realized that Mid-Atlantic residents passed down their favorite crab cake recipes from generation to generation.

The winner of the very first cook-off in 1990 was Ellen C. Smith of Rehoboth Beach, who took the top prize with a time-honored take on the dish: crab meat, egg, horseradish mustard, mayonnaise, parsley, salt and pepper coated with cracker crumbs and fried in hot shortening.

“The recipe that won was very simple,” Hicks said. “People love a classic crab cake.”

Since then, Hicks has reviewed hundreds of crab cake recipes from traditional favorites to contemporary twists, like spicy Sriracha sauce as seasoning. Her favorite? Caribbean coconut crab cakes with a peppery pineapple glaze.

“They are so good,” Hicks said. “The coconut gives just a little bit of sweetness, and panko bread crumbs make it crispy.”

The winning recipes will soon be compiled in a 25th anniversary edition "Coast Day Crab Cake Cookbook" to be published online.

All crab cakes must be made from 100 percent blue crab meat. Each finalist will receive two pounds of jumbo lump blue crab meat to use the day of the competition. All other ingredients and cooking utensils are the contestants’ responsibility. Judging will be based on originality, predominance of crabmeat, taste and texture.

Download the contest rules and entry form at or contact Delaware Sea Grant at 302-645-4297 or for a printed version.

Coast Day is held at the University of Delaware’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus at 700 Pilottown Road in Lewes.

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