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Winning decision catches Middletown crab chef grand prize

By Josette Keelor -- jkeelor@nvdaily.com

When asked about the recipe that won Middletown resident Tess Klimm grand prize recently in the Crab Cooking Contest in Crisfield, Md., she had to confess she went heavy on the marmalade.

The recipe she entered for her original Maryland Blue Crab Marmalade Salad calls for 2/3 of a cup of sour cream and 1/3 orange marmalade, but what the judges actually tasted contained more like half and half, she said. It was a change that she and her husband happened upon accidentally, but whether or not the judges would have preferred the altered recipe to the original, Klimm will never know. It doesn't really matter, though. It was a winning decision.

Part of the 65th annual National Hard Crab Derby, the Aug. 31 contest named her first prize in the Soup and Salad category. Among other first place winners were Mary Bradshaw, who charters Tangier Island Cruises, and professional boat captain Roberta "Bobbi" Willis, Klimm said. From the first place winners, the judges chose Klimm to win the grand prize.

"It's the same kind of thing like Apple Blossom [Festival], they close the schools," Klimm said.

The derby ran from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2, and Klimm was one of 12 cooks to compete in the Crab Cooking Contest. Entrants came from Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania, she said.

"It's just neighborly, it's a lot of fun," she said. "It's a great place to visit."

Klimm, a broker/owner of Dominion Real Estate Associates in Middletown and president of the Middletown Heritage Society, has been visiting the Maryland waterfront town ever since she was little, a tradition that began with her of her grandmother.

"My grandmother would take me down to Crisfield," she said. "That's where my family history goes."

Now Klimm and her husband own a second home in Crisfield, which she said has the largest public marina on the Chesapeake Bay.

"It's a neat little town," she said.

This was the third time she entered the contest and the second time she won. Last time, she won third place for her Crab Reuben.

As the grand prize winner, she won $150 and a basket of items including a recipe book, a crab bowl and note cards.

She's never been a professional chef, she said, but she probably will try her luck again in the future.

"I just like to eat," she said. "Don't care who cooks, I like to eat."

Maryland Blue Crab Marmalade Salad

2/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup orange marmalade (or 1/2 cup of sour cream and 1/2 cup marmalade)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
Four to six slices of crispy bacon
A tablespoon of minced fresh ginger
Lightly toasted sliced almonds or pine nuts
Mixed greens, romaine or a sandwich roll

Mix sour cream, ginger and marmalade until well-blended. Stir in chopped scallions and bacon. Fold Maryland blue crab meat into mixture. Scoop onto a bed of lettuce or a toasted roll. Sprinkle with toasted almonds for crunch before serving.

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