Celebrate Father's Day with crabs and rockfish

ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Seafood Marketing Program encourages residents to celebrate Father’s Day weekend with fresh Maryland seafood. Blue crabs and rockfish are two delicious options for your holiday menu and are both currently in-season.

“Living in Maryland we are fortunate to have easy access to delicious local seafood,” said Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “Our state’s tasty blue crabs and rockfish are a great way to celebrate Father’s Day and to support Maryland watermen and the state’s seafood industry.”

Rockfish – Maryland’s state fish – has a sweet and mild taste with a medium-firm to flaky texture that can stand on its own as a main dish or be paired with Maryland True Blue crab meat. Chef John Shields of Gertrude’s Restaurant in Baltimore, brings these two Maryland icons together in his signature Rockfish Imperial. Watch Chef Shields talk about his culinary vision behind this mouth-watering dish here and this Father’s Day try making his signature recipe provided below.

Maryland’s Best Seafood spotlights local culinary professionals creative takes on the state’s summertime staples. You can find recipes, resources and information for getting the most out of Chesapeake cuisine by visiting Crabmeat purchased from True Blue restaurants and seafood dealers are produced from mostly Maryland crabs, 75 percent by agreement with the Maryland Department of Agriculture.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture manages Maryland’s Best – the state’s seafood and agricultural marketing program. The program focuses on promoting the consumption of fresh, local Maryland food products throughout the region and internationally. For more information on Maryland’s Best, contact Mark Powell at or 410-841-5775.

Rockfish Imperial Recipe:
(Serves 6)

John Shields’ recipe adapted from Chesapeake Bay Cooking with John Shields

Six - 6 to 7 ounce rockfish fillets, skin removed
Salt and pepper
Olive oil for searing
One batch Crab Imperial (recipe follows)
Imperial Topping (recipe follows)

Season both sides of the rockfish fillets with salt and pepper. Lightly coat the bottom of a well-heated ovenproof skillet with olive oil. Place fillets flesh side down into very hot skillet and sear for 1 minute. Turn the fish over and sear the other side for 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and flip fish over once again. Divide the crab imperial evenly onto the top of each fillet.

Place the skillet back into the oven and bake for about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove skillet or pan from oven and top the imperial with the imperial sauce. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Return the skillet to the oven and brown the fillets for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Crabmeat Imperial

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
2 tablespoons green bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons red bell pepper or pimiento, diced
½ cup mushrooms, chopped
¾ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon capers, drained and chopped
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 pound jumbo – or lump – crabmeat, picked over for shells

Melt the butter in a small skillet and sauté the bell peppers and mushrooms until soft. Set aside.

Combine the mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire, Tabasco, capers, pepper, and Old Bay in a small bowl and mix well. Add the sautéed peppers and mushrooms.

Place the crabmeat in a mixing bowl and pour the mixture over it. Toss gently. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Imperial Topping
(Makes 1/3 cup)

1 egg, beaten
¼ cup mayonnaise
Pinch of paprika
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.

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