I’ve had a torrid love affair with seafood ever since I was a little girl.
Unfortunately, living my whole life in a land far away from the sea put a strain on that relationship. It’s like a long-distance love affair that has its brilliant, passionate moments…but one that also has its unfulfilled, empty moments as well.
One seafood item in particular is extremely difficult to find in a land-locked state: fresh crab. Not that chewy, plastic stuff made from minced fish bits. I’m talking the succulent King/Snow/blue crab meat that comes straight from the claw and legs. That is nearly impossible to find, and even harder to find at a decent price. I ain’t paying $30 for 4 crab legs, you know what I mean?
Having the Maryland Terps (terrapins) in the March Madness bracket meant I had to feature something with crab. The only problem was where to find it. I knew I couldn’t afford any of the King or snow crab legs in the seafood section at my grocery store, but I did find something peculiar—-canned jumbo lump crab meat.
It was pricey, though. One tin of the stuff was $9. However, I thought it would taste better than the flaked canned stuff you usually find in the tuna aisle.
I was right!
Even though I also supplemented this recipe with the cheap-o flaked stuff, the lump crab meat tasted far better than expected. It didn’t give off that briney iron taste that you usually find with food packed in aluminum cans. The crab held together extremely well after cooking, so eating each bite of these stuffed tomatoes you would get a big chunk of crabmeat. That is what I was hoping for.
This recipe was so simple yet pure. Sometimes the recipes with the least ingredients are the best. I will say this: I challenge you to find a good tomato to go with this recipe. I used beefsteak tomatoes since they are so large and easily stuffable, but they lacked the flavor that you might find in tomatoes like hothouse or heirloom. You should definitely season the tomatoes first before stuffing them, too, something I forgot to do.
Also, if you haven’t noticed, I’ve been on quite the orzo kick lately. I had a huge container of the rice-shaped pasta in my cabinet and have been trying to use it in everything. I find it’s something different when it comes to pasta, and my favorite use of it is in salads (like this pasta salad). It worked so well with the crab and mushrooms in this recipe. Everything was working together and the delectable crab was the vehicle behind it all.
Maryland Crab & Orzo Stuffed Tomatoes
Crab, mushroom and orzo stuffed tomatoes topped with parmesan cheese.
- 2 TBS. butter
- 8 oz. white mushrooms, finely diced
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 can jumbo lump crab meat, drained (I used Miller’s Select brand)
- 1 can flaked white crabmeat (I used Chicken of the Sea), drained
- salt & pepper
- 2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
- 2 cups orzo
- 4 large tomatoes
- Parmesan, for topping
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned. Pour in wine and raise heat to high. Boil until liquid is reduced by half. Remove from heat and stir in crab, salt, pepper & Old Bay seasoning.
- In a large saucepan of boiling, salted water, cook orzo until tender but still firm, about 5-7 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Transfer to a bowl and toss with crab mixture.
- Cut tops of tomatoes and scoop out seeds and pulp from the inside. Stuff hollowed out tomatoes with crab & orzo mixture. Top with Parmesan and a sprinkle of Old Bay. Arrange stuffed tomatoes in a baking dish and cover loosely with foil. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until tomatoes are tender (but they should still hold their shape).
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until slightly browned, 2-3 minutes.
Add wine and raise heat to high. Boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 3-4 minutes or so.
Remove pan from heat and stir in both cans of crab.
Add salt, pepper, and the Maryland piece de resistance: Old Bay seasoning.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water, cook orzo until tender but still firm, about 5-7 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Add orzo to a large bowl and mix in crab & mushroom mixture.
Cut tops off tomatoes and scoop out seeds and pulp. Fill hollowed out tomatoes with crab & orzo stuffing. Top with Parmesan and a sprinkle of Old Bay.
Arrange tomatoes in a baking dish and bake for 10-15 minutes or until tomatoes are tender but still hold their shape.