On Labor Day, chefs unite to celebrate Bill Smith's new Crab & Oysters | Food

On Labor Day, chefs unite to celebrate Bill Smith's new Crab & Oysters


  • Photo courtesy of UNC Press
  • Bill Smith
Bill Smith is one of the most-loved chefs in the Triangle. Night after night, there's plenty of evidence with the lines for a table at Crook's Corner, the James Beard Award-winning culinary institution in Chapel Hill.

On Monday, Sept. 7, at Durham's Alley Twenty Six. fellow chefs will get to show Smith love, too. Five of them will prepare favorite recipes picked from Smith's new book, Crabs & Oysters, a volume in UNC Press' Savor the South series. 

Tickets for the Labor Day event are $75 each and available online via Brown Paper Tickets. Admission includes a copy of the book, live music from a jazz trio, Alley Twenty Six cocktails (Micheladas, one of Smith's favorite libations, which will includes raw oysters, and red or white wine), oysters on the half shell and the following recipes from the book:

• Deviled Crab Dip: Selected and prepared by Ricky Moore of Saltbox Seafood Joint, Durham
• Crab-Stuffed Eggs: Amy Tornquist of Watts Grocery, Durham
• Crab Aspic: Andrea Reusing of Lantern, Chapel Hill, and the soon-to-open The Durham
• Oysters Basquaise: Matt Kelly of Mateo Tapas, Durham
• Louis Osteen's Brown Oyster Stew: Billy Cotter of Dashi and Toast, Durham

The recipes reflect both Smith's upbringing in New Bern, where his large family was known to gather for informal but fabulous seafood feasts, and the passion and renewed appreciation that Southern cooks have for coastal crab and oysters. It also includes his famous recipe for soft shell crabs—or "krabs" as he playfully announces via social media. The limited availability of these crunchy delights, which roughly aligns with the equally brief honeysuckle sorbet season, has led to heartbreak when hopeful diners learn that the last order has been claimed.

UNC Press has given the INDY permission to share one of the recipes that will be served Monday, the deviled crab dip that is the first offering in the book. Smith describes it as a "delicious little recipe [that] is as simple as can be, and you're likely to have all the ingredients except for the crab in your kitchen any time."

Deviled Crab Dip
Reprinted by permission of UNC Press from Crabs & Oysters, a Savor the South cookbook by Bill Smith (September 2015).
Makes 10 or so servings.
1/2 pound fresh special crabmeat, pickled over for shell
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Carefully fold all of the ingredients together, taking care not to break up the crab too much. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour. Serve with Ritz crackers.

Crabs & Oysters by Bill Smith
At Alley Twenty Six, Monday, Sep. 7
4-6 p.m.: 320 E. Chapel Hill Street., Durham

At Quail Ridge Books, Monday, Sep. 28
7 p.m.: 3522 Wade Ave., Raleigh

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