Old Bay Seasoning is a popular spice blend that includes celery salt, mustard, red and black pepper, bay leaves, cloves, allspice, ginger, mace, cardamom, cinnamon, and paprika. Its flavor and aroma are especially welcome with summer foods, in particular for anyone who has ever enjoyed Maryland’s famed spice-crusted steamed blue crabs.
The mixture was created by Gustav Brunn, a sausage-maker who arrived in Baltimore from Germany in 1938. He created the seasoning to complement the flavor of the crabs, fish and shrimp that were so abundant in the Chesapeake Bay. Today, the regional brand, now owned by McCormick, has fans worldwide.
Look for Old Bay in the seafood department or spice section at your supermarket or at the fish market. Store it in a cool, dry place and try to use it up within six months of opening. Keep Old Bay in the freezer for longer storage.
Add Old Bay to the cooking liquid when steaming crabs or boiling shrimp. It gives a kick to crab cakes, fried chicken, french fries and your favorite broiled fish fillets.