The dish dates back to America’s colonial days and is thought to have been introduced by English settlers. While crab cakes—typically a mix of crabmeat, bread crumbs, and eggs, among other ingredients—are found on restaurant menus around the country and can be made with almost any type of crab, including the West Coast’s Dungeness and King varieties, Maryland is truly the home of the crab cake. The Chesapeake Bay is stocked with blue crabs, which create a full-flavored, meaty cake. While the patties can be fried, sautéed, baked, broiled, or grilled, one thing all recipes generally call for is lump crabmeat—large pieces of meat from the body of the crab and sometimes the back fin.
Veal, Mushroom and Red pepper Goulash
One of the key ingredients in this goulash and many other Hungarian dishes is paprika. The spice is made from a dried ground mild pepper often called pimento. According to Alan Davidson’s Oxford Companion to Food, the peppers used to make paprika originated in the New World and were introduced to Hungary via Turkey in the 1820s and became immediately popular—in fact, the Hungarian name for goulash is derived from the spice. “What is known all over the world as ‘Hungarian goulash’ is called in Hungary pökölt or paprikás,” Davidson writes (pököltbecomes paprikás with the addition of sour cream).
A few tips on making goulash: Our recipe calls for dried mushrooms. Chef Griffiths uses cèpes, the French name for a mushroom called “bolete” in English and more commonly known in the U.S. by its Italian name, porcini. Feel free to use any sort of good-quality dried mushroom. The mushrooms are soaked and then the soaking liquid, which will go into the goulash as part of the stock, is strained to remove any grit—be sure not to skip this important step.
Cedar Planked Salmon
In this cooking technique, which stems from Native American traditions, the fish is cooked on a piece of cedar wood, which imparts a subtle sweet and smoky flavor to the fish. Be sure to choose a plank designed for cooking—you can find wood planks at cookware stores and online from sources such as cooking.com. Also make sure you select top-quality fish for this showstopping dish, such as the famous wild salmon of Oregon’s Rogue River and Tillamook Bay. Unfortunately, wild salmon stocks in much of the Pacific Northwest have been depleted recently and there have been bans on fishing in some areas. A reputable fishmonger can help you choose the best available wild or farmed salmon—for you and for the environment. For more information about choosing seafood, visit oceansalive.org and Seafood Watch. Serve the salmon with the mustard mashed potatoes suggested in the recipe or with your favorite seasonal sides.
This robust Southwestern stew includes pork rib meat and hominy, and is colored and flavored with a vibrant red (rojo) sauce made from New Mexican chiles. Hominy (also called pozole or posole, thus the stew’s name) is made from corn that has been slaked in lime or lye water to remove the exterior hull. It has a chewy texture and tastes like mild, starchy corn—two factors that make it perfect for soaking up the flavor of the chiles, garlic, and other ingredients in the stew. (Side note: Grits are made from dried, ground hominy.)
Southwestern cuisine reflects the area’s broad mix of cultures, including Mexican, Native American, Spanish, and Anglo. Pozole, in particular, shows a strong influence of Mexican cuisine—some form of the dish has existed since pre-Columbian times in Mexico. In the United States, the dish is particularly popular in New Mexico, where it is eaten on Christmas Eve to celebrate life’s blessings.
Shrimp and Andouille Gumbo
A classical French roux is made with flour and butter, but this one contains vegetable oil, which has a higher scorching point than butter, so it can be cooked until it’s dark brown. Be sure to stir your roux constantly so it doesn’t burn.
This gumbo uses two of the typical thickeners in Cajun and Creole cuisine: okra and filé powder, which is made from ground sassafras leaves. The filé can be stirred in at the end of cooking (avoid overheating it, or the gumbo can get stringy and goopy) or passed at the table and added to taste.
The central ingredient in saag paneer is—you guessed it—the fresh, unaged Indian cheese paneer(also spelled panir). Paneer is surprisingly easy to make at home and can be done up to four days in advance. Sahni’s method, which involves boiling milk and curdling it with lemon juice, is described at the bottom of her recipe. Kamen talks about another method for making paneer in which buttermilk is used instead of lemon juice to curdle the milk. Both methods produce equally delicious results. If you don’t have the time or inclination to make your own cheese, you can buy paneer at Indian grocery stores, or substitute farmer’s cheese, ricotta salata, or tofu (the latter makes the recipe vegan).
Once you’ve made or bought paneer, the dish comes together quickly. Spinach and green peppers are puréed to make a smooth sauce, which is set aside while the cheese is pan-fried, then also set aside. In the same pan, onions and spices are fried, the green sauce is added, followed by slices of red pepper and the cheese.
Chili con Carne
While excellent versions of chili are available all over the United States, the dish has the strongest ties to Texas, where it has been declared the Official State Dish by the legislature, according to The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink. “Chili as we know it originated in the American Southwest, most likely in the region that became the state of Texas,” according to the book. “Culinary historians think that chili began as a peasant dish prepared by poor people using cheap, inferior cuts of meat cooked together with other inexpensive, readily available ingredients, primarily peppers and onions.” According to the Companion, chili had begun spreading to other parts of the U.S. by the late 1800s, and by the 1920s, “chili parlors” or “chili joints” (“small, inexpensive, hole-in-the-wall diners”) were opening across the country. As the dish spread, the number of ingredients and variations grew too.
The Chili con Carne recipe demonstrated by Chef Bruce Mattel of The Culinary Institute of Americain our videos contains ground chuck, onions, garlic, chili powder and other spices, tomato sauce, and beans.