Old Bay Is The Perfect Ingredient For Giving Popcorn Maryland-Style Kick

old bay seasoning and seasoned popcorn
old bay seasoning and seasoned popcorn - Facebook/Old Bay Seasoning

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Old Bay seasoning has become a Maryland staple, and it's usually associated with the state's most famous seafood, blue crabs. A true Maryland-style crab boil typically features beer, lemon, garlic, onions, corn, potatoes, sausage, and lots and lots of Old Bay. The crabs are added to the mix later and cooked until their shells become orange in color. While this special spice blend is often paired with seafood, it's actually a versatile ingredient that can perk up nearly any dish.

Just like in a traditional crab boil, Old Bay enhances the flavor of corn. So why not try it on popcorn? Old Bay spices play off the corn's natural sweetness. All you need is some freshly popped corn, a container of Old Bay, and a bit of butter. First, add the butter to the popcorn to help the spice blend to stick to the popped kernels. Then, add as much Old Bay as you like. One bite will transport you straight to the Maryland coast.

Read more: 11 Of The Best Cooking Tips From Bobby Flay

What Is Old Bay?

container of old bay seasoning
container of old bay seasoning - 010110010101101/Shutterstock

For those of you unfamiliar with the flavorful origins of Old Bay, here's a little history. What we now know as Old Bay got its start in Baltimore around 1940. This beloved spice blend was created by Gustav Brunn, a Jewish merchant who fled Germany in the late 1930s with his family and his spice grinder in tow. He soon began experimenting with different seasonings for one of his new home's most popular foods, crabs. At first, Brunn failed to attract much interest in his spice mix until a local fish market agreed to sell it to its customers. He took the name for his product from a local steamship line named Old Bay, and the rest is culinary history.

Brunn created a complex mix of spices, adding a bit of this and that to make his product stand out from his competitors. He reportedly used such warming spices as cinnamon and clove, which hadn't been tried in a crab boil before. The exact formula for Old Bay, however, is a bit of a mystery as the label only says that there's celery salt, black pepper, red pepper, and paprika in it along with other unidentified spices.

Other Ways To Use Old Bay

Roasted potatoes on parchment paper with fork
Roasted potatoes on parchment paper with fork - Severija/Getty Images

It's easy to see how Old Bay's unique blend of seasonings would make a great savory topping for popcorn. The celery salt and black pepper amp up the umami of this popular snack, and the red pepper and paprika add some heat. That's why Old Bay is a great addition to so many other foods and dishes.

Borrowing another ingredient from a traditional crab boil, potatoes and Old Bay also work well together. Try it on roasted potatoes, French fries, or even in potato salad. The zesty seasoning also makes deviled eggs taste even better and can jazz up that much-loved brunch cocktail -- the bloody mary. Besides popcorn, Old Bay can make other snacks even tastier, too. Use it to season nuts like almonds or cashews, or in a party mix. And if you're lucky, you might be able to find some of the Old Bay-flavored goldfish to add to the mix.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.