Savory, delicious, all-lump crab meat can make ordinary macaroni and cheese extraordinary, turn cream cheese and old bay into a mouthwatering party dip, or simply be crafted into a moist crab cake sandwich!

Although here on the Eastern Shore crab is not a rare menu item, it’s always nice to have an excuse to go out and order a little extra crab meat with your meal, or to make a special dish at home. That excuse this Friday, March 9th is National Crabmeat Day!

So where did this blue crab originally come from?

Scientifically speaking, the Callinectes sapidus—broken down to mean “beautiful,” “savory” and “swimmer”—is the Chesapeake blue crab we all know and love. It was designated as Maryland’s State Crustacean in 1989, and has grown to become a staple in restaurant kitchens and homes.

Harvesting occurs when the blue crabs are hard shell crabs, peeler crabs (prior to molting) and soft shell crabs (immediately after molting). As the most valuable commercial fishery in Maryland, blue crabs must be 5 inches or more to legally keep, with other legal size limits for peeler and soft shell crabs.

From soup to salad to dip to sandwiches, crab is a multifunctional ingredient across the food industry. There are countless recipes and ways to make crab into whatever your taste buds are craving. Here are just a few of our favorite creative crabmeat recipes!

Crab Pot Pie

A flavorful twist on the original pot pie.

Crab Fried Rice

This is a delicate, delicious Thai dish has garlic, cilantro, scallions and a hint of lime.

Shrimp and Crab Nachos

Saute your shrimp, mix in your crab meat, pile on the tortilla chips and cheese, and throw it all in the oven for a quick broil. For a little extra kick, add pickled jalapenos!

Crab Cake Benedict

Yep, just like it sounds!

Crab Salad

Fry up some celery, garlic, onions and bell peppers, let it cool, add some crab meat and seasonings, and let the magic happen. This is much richer than traditional chicken salad!

Our list could go on and on… however, you choose to spend this National Crabmeat Day on Friday, make sure there is some crab meat in your diet!