Saturday, February 23, 2013

Maryland Style Crab Cakes

I’ve had friends in Baltimore for nigh on twenty years now, and when I visit them, I always make sure to enjoy some of that most ubiquitous of Maryland dishes, blue crab.  Way back in the mid Nineties, my friends Les, Chris and Donna treated me to an official Maryland Crab Boil (though they were steamed, actually), and we sat for hours on Chris’s back porch pickin’ crab and drinking lots of Natty Boh Beer.  Those were some good times, hon. 

But, as fun and tasty as that was, I’ve found that the way I best enjoy the meat of these little Chesapeake Bay bugs is pre-picked and formed into a delicious, spicy crab cake.  Not only is it easier, but I think it’s tastier too, as the crab meat is augmented with some herbs and spices to really make it sing.  Then of course, it’s fried.  Fried stuff always tastes better. 

Oh, and did I mention spice?  Well, proper Maryland crab cakes are spiced up with a product called Old Bay Seasoning.  

Old Bay is to Maryland what Tabasco is to Louisiana.  Fact is, they put it on everything up there...eggs, slaws, potato chips, corn on the cob, etc.  And of course, I don’t blame them, because Old Bay is delicious.  I keep a can in my spice rack at all times. 

So, a couple of weeks ago the Superbowl (pretty much the biggest yearly sporting event here in the States) took place. My Baltimore friends were quite excited, as their team, the Ravens, were playing in the affair.  I too enjoy the Superbowl, even though my beloved Dallas Cowboys haven’t been in it for quite some time now.  Anyway, when we watch the Big Game, the wife and I like to whip up some grub to enjoy as we watch.  I thought, ‘Hey, Baltimore’s in the game, why not make some crab cakes?”

Well, I’d never made them before, so I inquired of my friends for their recipes.  They obliged, and the wife and I went with a somewhat hybrid version of what they sent.  The crab cakes came out great, so I decided to get ‘em up on the blog as quick as I could.  I hope y’ins enjoy ‘em, hon.

Maryland Style Crab Cakes

12 oz Lump Crab Meat, Blue Crab if available
10 Ritz Crackers, crumbled very fine
1 Egg
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons Chopped Parsley
2 Teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
Dash Cracked Black Pepper
1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs

Crush the Ritz crackers very fine.  Pulsing in your food processor works great.  Mix with the egg, lemon juice, mayo, parsley, Old Bay, Worcestershire and black pepper.  Stir until all is incorporated. 

Now for the crab.  If you can get hold of fresh blue crab meat, this is your best yet, but if you live in Texas or similar, like me, you may have to settle for canned.  If so, get the best quality canned crab you can afford.  It’ll make a difference.  We made our crab cakes during the Superbowl with canned, and they were great, so don’t sweat it too much. 

Pour your crab meat into a separate bowl from what you’ve already mixed and pick through the meat to make sure there is no cartilage or bits of shell.  Once this is done, slowly add the crab meat to the spice/mayo mixture, stirring until all is incorporated.  Don’t over stir the mixture, do only enough to combine.  Too much mixing and you’ll break up the nice lumps of crab meat into shreds. 

Shape the mixture into five or six small patties...

 Coat with the Panko bread crumbs

...then refrigerate them for at least an hour. 

Heat a skillet with vegetable oil about ½ inch deep in it to 375F.  Use a fork to lower the cakes into the oil, and fry them on each side until they are golden brown.  

Serve immediately by themselves, or with some tartar or remoulade sauce. 

Until next time,

No need to get crabby, have some crab cakes!

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