There is nothing more quintessentially ‘Eastern Shore’ than its seafood. Oysters, rockfish and the Chesapeake Blue Crab are the Bay’s local triad of ingredients that have made the region famous across the country. The hidden secret of the Eastern Shore, however, is its own homegrown restaurants where the seafood hits the table the same day it’s pulled from the water. Many of the Eastern Shore’s inns and ‘crab shacks’ serve up cuisine that rivals the finest restaurants in major cities like Washington, DC, New Orleans, or Charleston.
As a recent transplant to the Eastern Shore, I’m lucky to live steps away from a few of these gems. One of my favorites is Bartlett Pear Inn, a boutique bed and breakfast with its own restaurant housed in a lovingly restored Victorian building that dates back to 1790. Owned by husband and wife team, Alice and Chef Jordan Lloyd put a premium on supporting local farmers, watermen, sustainability, and farm fresh ingredients. “Dirt to Table in one day” is what defines their pursuit for quality and freshness with all of the ingredients used in their dishes. Their constant repeat customers both locally and from around the country, as well as dozens of glowing reviews by some of the most discriminating food critics, are testament that they’re on to something.
Chef Jordan has worked with some of the nation’s top chefs including Michel Richard at Citronelle, Thomas Keller at Per Se in NYC, and Christian Delouvrier at La Goulue in the Bal Harbour Shops in Miami. Additionally, Jordan learned European-style service at Auberge du Soleil in Hilton Head, South Carolina and The Four Seasons in Washington DC. After honing his skills under some of the world’s best, Jordan and his wife Alice moved back their hometown of Easton, Maryland to raise a family and opened the Bartlett Pear Inn in 2009. In the seven years since, the inn and its restaurant have become a closely-guarded secret for a who’s who list from Washington DC, Philadelphia, and New York looking for the country’s finest food off the beaten track.
When I got the opportunity to pick Chef Jordan’s brain on a local culinary classic—Maryland Crab Soup—he was thrilled to share his recipe. This delicious recipe yields 12-14, 12-ounce servings and will be sure to bring a little Eastern Shore flavor to your own kitchen wherever you live.
Chef Jordan Lloyd’s Classic Maryland Crab Soup
- 12 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Spanish onions, diced
- 3 stalks celery, peeled and diced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and small diced
- 1/4 head of cabbage, cut thin
- 1 - 28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
- 1/2 pound green beans, cut 1 inch long
- 2 ears of corn, shucked and cut from cob
- 1 russet potato, small diced
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- 1 tablespoons old bay
- 1 pound mixed lump crab meat
- 2 quarts beef stock
- Salt to taste
- Olive oil
- Old Bay Seasoning
In an 8-quart soup pot, heat oil. Add garlic and let sweat for two minutes then add onions and continue to sweat until translucent. Add: celery, carrots, cabbage, green beans and corn and any other desired vegetables. Sweat all until just soft. Add Old Bay Seasoning and celery salt. Add salt in the beginning of sweating process to release moisture from the veggies. Once all veggies are soft, add tomatoes, crab meat and stock. Bring to a simmer. Add diced potatoes. When the potatoes are cooked, pull soup off heat, season with salt to your preference, serve with Saltines and enjoy!
For more information about the Bartlett Pear Inn and Chef Jordan Lloyd visit their website.
This article was previously published on Southern Living’s The Daily South Blog.
For more information on Chef Jordan Lloyd’s passion for sustainable ingredients, check out his “Life of an Ingredient” video: