Crab Pesto Pizza

Dreaming of beaches over here still even though the temperatures are below zero.

So I’m still combating the cold by cooking some of our warm weather favorites.

One of our favorite places in the world is the town where my parents have their shore house. It’s where I spent my summers. It’s where I feel most relaxed. It’s where I threw my first kegger, had my first crush and my first hangover.

It’s also where my fiance proposed to me.

Fenwick Island. I just think of it and am happy.

The DelMarVa peninsula is known for a few things, fresh crabs being one of the top.

There’s an Italian restaurant in the area that takes advantage of the fresh, local seafood, and merges it with Italian classics.

Their best dish? Pesto crab pizza.

It’s amazing.

And while it sounds complicated, it really couldn’t be easier.

To bring the Delaware shore to your home, you will need

  • Frozen pizza dough, thawed
  • pesto (store bought or homemade – my recipe here)
  • mozzarella
  • 1/2 a pound fresh jumbo lump crab meat

See my previous post about Jersey Tomato Pizza for tips on stretching out the dough.

Once the dough is stretched, it’s just a matter of layering pesto, crab and some mozzarella on the dough and baking at 425 for about 10 minutes.

I got so excited about making this that I forgot to take pictures along the way.

That’s how good this is.

We actually ate all but two pieces before we remembered we needed shots for the blog.



Not that I’m counting, but 163 days ’til summer and ’til we’re eating this pizza at the beach!

Pepperoni and String Beans

You read that title, scratched your head, wrinkled your nose and said what?

No, this is not a joke.

This is pepperoni and string beans.

You’ve never heard of it?

I don’t think anyone outside of my dad’s family has really. It’s not an Italian dish. It’s not… well, I don’t think it’s any kind of dish.

Our guess is that my grandma had six hungry kids on her hands and only pepperoni, string beans and some tomato paste in the cabinets and she just shrugged and said, eh, why not?

Did I mention my grandma had six kids, no dishwasher and no driver’s license?

So if the kids were hungry and grandpa wasn’t home, whatever was in the house would have to become dinner. Somehow.

I’m guessing that’s how this concoction came into being.

My mom always makes this down the shore. I’ve never made it for my boyfriend before, not because I think that he’ll think it’s weird, but because I’ve never had it anywhere but down at our shore house.

Isn’t that weird?

There’s certain foods that have such a strong association with certain places that I just can’t imagine eating them anywhere else.

So while we were away with my parents over the weekend, mom decided to make it.

Our kitchen down the shore is equally as itty bitty, just not so city.

So this post comes to you from my mom in her itty bitty but not so city kitchen.

For this dish you will need can of tomato paste, canned string beans, pepperoni (sliced).

You can add as many cans of green beans and as much pepperoni as you need to feed your troop.

The only key here is that the tomato paste be added with water in a 3 parts water to 1 part tomato paste ratio.

Fool proof method? 3 cans of water (using the tomato paste can) per one can of tomato paste.

Ready? Dump everything in a pot.


Cover with a lid and cook over medium. Stir it every once in a while.

It’s the perfect thing to throw together and let hang on the stove while you hang on the beach. Whenever someone goes back to the house for a snack or a potty break, just ask them to give the pot a stir.

The longer it simmers, the spicier the tomato broth gets as the pepperoni seeps into it.

The next day it’s even spicier.


Spoon out into bowls and have some crusty bread ready.

A bowl of this always makes me think of summer at the beach.

What dishes have that kind of association with a place for you?

I’d love to hear them!

Your house stinks! Or, Aglio e Olio and Old Bay Shrimp

This is very unlike me, but last night I was too pooped to post dinner!

I’m reading Tigers in Red Weather right now, and there’s a scene where the women are sitting on their porch in their silk slips because it’s too hot to wear anything else. They’re fanning themselves and drinking gin out of jelly jars.

It was that kind of hot.

Lazy beach days like that require a super simple, no thinking required dinner.

For that, there is spaghetti with aglio e olio.

In Italian, that translates to garlic and oil, and that’s, quite simply, all the dish is.

Pour some olive oil in a pan, add in the garlic and heat until the garlic just starts to brown.

Meanwhile, boil some water and cook up some spaghetti.

Dish up the spaghetti and pour the aglio e olio over the pasta.

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Add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

This is a simple dish made from pantry staples that every cook should have in their back pocket.

I always have those ingredients on hand, so should there be last minute guests, or a heat induced malaise that makes a trip to the store sound like torture, dinner is still makeable.

Mom also whipped up some shrimp to go with the pasta.

For four people, she used two pounds of frozen shrimp, tails and shells on.

Toss the frozen shrimp in a big frying pan, douse with Old Bay seasoning and cook over medium until the shrimp’s cooked through.

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Old Bay is another Delaware and Maryland shore thing. It’s a spice blend with red and black pepper, paprika and some other things, and it makes it’s way into pretty much everything down here – the crabs were cooked in it the other night, you can pick up Old Bay potato chips at the store…

If you’ve never had it, give it a try. You can bring a taste of the Eastern shore to your kitchen.

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So, mom dished up heaping bowls of garlic spaghetti with garlic bread on the side and plopped a big bowl of old bay shrimp in the middle of the table for us to go at.

And go at it we did.

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After dinner, our neighbor’s six-year old son came over with his mom to pick up glow stick bracelets from my mom because, yea, my mom has a bag full of army men, pez, glowsticks- pretty much any toy you could wants as a kid at the beach.

He took one step into our house, looked at his mom and said “Mama, it stinks in here!”

We couldn’t help but laugh.

He was right. It did stink in here.

But it was so good. And worth the stink.

**PS, aglio e olio is a great sauce to whip up in a pinch, but only if everyone is eating it and if you are not, I repeat NOT going to need to talk to anyone for the rest of the night.

Cracking Crabs in Lower Slower Delaware

That’s what the locals affectionately call the beach area of Delaware- lower slower.

It’s th elower portion of the state and, well, the pace is a little slower down here.

You mosy up to the beach and hang out in the sand all day. Maybe pop a beer when the lifeguards leave at 5 and then stay up until the sun starts to dip below the horizon and the breeze has you reaching for your sweatshirt.

You gather up the chairs and sand toys and head back to the house.

But you’re not going to shower off the salt water, yet.

And you’re not going to start cooking.

Tonight is crab night.

Anyone from the Maryland or Delaware region knows what I mean. For those of you who did not spend your summers on the Delmarva peninsula, let me explain.

You have probably had crabs in some forms – probably crab cakes, or crab imperial topping your broiled fish. But that’s not the true experience of crabs.

Oh no.

You need to get a couple dozen, steamed in spicy old bay, sit down in your bathing suit (I highly recommend showering post crabs) and go to town with a crab cracker.

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There’s a technique to cracking crabs. Everyone has their own style. But the basics are the same. Break off the legs. You’re going to go at the claws separately. On the body, on the bottom, there’s a little, almost latch looking bit. Pull that tab and crack the shell of the crab open. Crack it in half. All the white meat is wonderful, yummy lump crab meat. Don’t eat the green stuff! Use the crackers to break into the claws.

This is the perfect lower slower food. You sit down with a roll of paper towels, a big glass of lemonade or beer and ten three hours later, all that’s left are some shells and an empty bowl.

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Oh and all the bits of crab shell you flung around the kitchen cracking the claws.

Remember when I said to stay in your bathing suit?

You’re welcome!

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