Crisfield Cobb Salad
Feb 25, 2011 12:51AM ● Published by Ashley West
It was a highlight for the chef, who has spent his entire life in the restaurant industry. Chef Betz took some time to
talk about why Boatyard Bar and Grill is the best place he has ever worked and to show us how to make the restaurant’s fresh, simple crab salad at home.
How did your culinary career begin?
As a kid in the ’70s, my father and uncles ran a restaurant/nightclub/marina. I was there one night helping my father out in the packed nightclub as the world-famous (and by this time, former) stripper, Blaze Starr, was on stage judging a “sexiest legs” contest. I thought to myself, “Wow, they actually pay people to work here?” I was hooked on the hospitality industry a nd eventually ended up at the Baltimore
Culinary Arts, where, alas, there were no strippers, no fun, and a real introduction to the real world.
Describe the culinary influence present in your dishes.
I am an avid collector and reader of cookbooks of all kinds, but I especially enjoy the style, flair, and technique of the French. So I guess the influence that I have been brought up with would be a funky kind of fresh Maryland/French/Continental/Cajun kind of cuisine. Needless to say, we have a lot of fun here coming up with original recipes that our eclectic clientele seem to love.
How did you come to work at Boatyard?
A longtime purveyor/friend recommended me to the Boatyard, and the Boatyard to me, and the rest is history. I have been here going on six years, and I feel this is the last job I’ll ever have. We have a fantastic following of the best regulars any restaurant could be blessed with.
Working here is just like working with family. The general manager and I often argue like brother and sister and the father, Ward Cleaver
(played by Dick Franyo), comes to make peace. Seriously, we all get along famously, and we all have each other’s backs. True teamwork! The
difference between this restaurant and most others is that our employees are good and we keep good people. I haven’t hired a new cook
in about three years, and that’s unheard of in this business.
What do you like most about your job?
After all the long hours, working most holidays, family reunions, weddings, funerals, etc., it is really nice when a complete stranger approaches you and says, “that was the best soup I’ve ever eaten!” or “you really made my mom’s birthday special!”
What makes the Crisfield Cobb Salad special to you?
There are few things in this world more special than a crispy fried soft crab just out of the Chesapeake Bay!
Is there a particular beverage that goes well with this dish?
I like a nice Pinot Grigio or, of course, a frosty mug of Boatyard Chesapeake Ale made by Otter Creek.
Crisfield Cobb Salad Serves 2
2 jumbo Chesapeake Bay soft shell crabs (preferably fresh but frozen will do just fine)
10 ounces fresh Mesclun or gourmet salad mix
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 tomato, cut into six wedges
1 roasted red bell pepper, julienned
4 ounces shredded pepper jack cheese
1 jar pickled green beans (available in specialty stores)
2 cups vegetable or canola oil
2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornflake crumbs
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt.
Lemon vinaigrette dressing:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove mashed or pressed garlic
1 tablespoon water
To make the dressing, put all the ingredients in a tightly sealed container and shake vigorously to emulsify. Shake as necessary before each use.
Combine all the ingredients of the breading mix in a large shallow bowl.
In a heavy-duty, high-side pan, heat the oil. While it is heating, pat the soft crab dry, dust it in flour, dip it in buttermilk and then the breading mix. Be sure to bread the entire crab well. Gently slip the soft crabs into hot oil and cook about three to four minutes until crispy. If your soft crab is not completely submerged in oil, you will need to cook the other side. Place the cooked crab on paper towels to soak up any extra grease.
While your crab cooks away, throw the Mesclun mix in a bowl and lightly coat it with the vinaigrette. Arrange the lettuce mixture on a plate with the tomatoes, pepper, green beans, and cheese surrounding it on the edges. Top with the crab.