This Cookbook Is Good for Home Cooks — and Maine Fishermen

Catch: A Maine Seafood Cookbook features seafood recipes from coastal-community members to fancy-restaurant chefs.

Adam Smaha's Maine Crab Dip, from Catch: A Maine Seafood Cookbook
Adam Smaha's Maine Crab Dip
By Will Grunewald
Photographs by Mark Rockwood
Styling by Stacey Stolman
From our September 2022 issue

A couple of years ago, Monique Coombs and Rebecca Spear found themselves admiring a cookbook that the now-defunct Maine Fishermen’s Wives Association put out back in the ’80s. With an updated take in mind, the two friends, both married to commercial fishermen, started collecting seafood recipes. They asked everyone from coastal-community members to fancy-restaurant chefs for contributions. “I’ve always noticed that a lot of seafood recipes are super complicated or a little precious,” Coombs says. “And the thing about fishing families is we don’t usually use many ingredients, because the seafood is so fresh. It’s like, bake the fish, then eat the fish.” She and Spear aimed for a wide variety of recipes, but with an emphasis on “what you would make at home on a Tuesday night.”

Coombs works at the nonprofit Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, which promotes the well-being of fisheries and fishermen — and which eventually took on the role of publisher for Catch: A Maine Seafood Cookbook. The recipes Coombs and Spear gathered range from crab dip to hake chowder to monkfish tagine to paella, and sales support two of the association’s programs — one that provides seafood to schools and food banks, another that connects fishermen with mental- and physical-health resources. Pretty good reasons to try out a new recipe for fish tacos.

Maine Crab Dip

Adam Smaha, a lobsterman turned merchant marine who lives in Bowdoinham, taught himself to cook while working aboard a tugboat in New York Harbor. In addition to his recipe for crab dip, Catch also included his recipe for lobster cakes.


2 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
1 tbsp butter, softened
¼ tsp seasoned salt
⅛ tsp paprika
4 tsps yellow onion, diced
6 oz crabmeat
4 tsps green pepper, diced
¼ cup shredded mozzarella
sliced green onion, for garnish
chopped parsley, for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, butter, salt, and paprika. Fold in yellow onion, crabmeat, green pepper, and mozzarella. Transfer to lightly greased, small, shallow baking dish. Bake 10–15 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. Garnish with green onion and parsley and serve with corn chips.