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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Maryland Crab Cakes

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My first run in with the Maryland crab cake was when I was working in Baltimore. The office was a few blocks away from Lexington Market and I would often walk down there for lunch. While the market boasts of many options (fresh fruit and vegetables, butcher, prepared meals), I always found myself walking toward Faidley’s and their wonderful jumbo lump crab cakes. Made with lump crab meat, these cakes were the size of a racquet ball… really. They were amazing, and every other crab cake after it could never compare (although Off the Hook's crab cake was pretty good).

Since I can’t go down to Baltimore, why not bring the Baltimore to me? I was lucky enough to participate in Baltimore International College’s food blogger project. The project was to try one of the recipes developed by their culinary school and write about the experience. For disclosure purposes, they covered the costs of the ingredients used in the recipe.


I wasn’t sure what kind of crab meat to use, so I tried two different types – canned meat you can find on the shelves next to the canned minced clams, and pasteurized crab meat that is usually at the seafood counter. Both have their place, but in doing this I discovered the seafood counter crab meat is the way to go.


The recipe calls for lump meat, but I think claw works just as fine. The recipe also says to pick the meat, but I think raking it with a fork is an easier, non-messy alternative.


The problem I’ve found with crab cakes is that they tend to be more filler than crab meat. This recipe however, has minimum filler. Whipping this up was fairly easy, and you can’t go wrong with Old Bay.


I halved the recipe and was still able to make 15 crab cakes (the full recipe is supposed to yield 20). To cook, I chose to broil instead of the traditional frying method. About five minutes on each side and ready to be eaten with a good dollop of tartar sauce.

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End result? The crab cakes were okay, but it could have been better if I had used all claw meat, instead of the half claw/half white meat combination. Broiling, while it is a healthier alternative, it doesn’t compare to frying (forgetting to grease the pan probably didn’t help either). While it still doesn’t compare to Faidley’s (but then again, who can?), I think I’ll be making these again for upcoming holiday parties… I’m thinking mini crab cake sandwiches.

Maryland Crab Cakes
Baltimore International College – School of Culinary Arts

4 lbs crab meat (lump or back fin)
12 slices white bread, crusts removed
4 tbsp mayonnaise
4 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp Old Bay seafood seasoning
1 1⁄2 tbsp parsley, fresh, chopped
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil (if frying)

1. Pick crab meat and set aside.
2. Cut crusts off bread and cut into small cubes.
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs. Add the bread, mayo, mustard, Old Bay, and parsley. Mix well.
4. Pour mixture over the crab meat and gently fold in until completely incorporated.
5. Shape into patties and place on a lined pan. Cover with wax paper and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Frying: Use a heavy frying pan, and enough oil so that it’s 1 – 1 1/2 inches deep. Heat the oil and place the crab cakes into the pan. Cook 2 minutes on each side (look for golden brown) and drain on paper towels.

Broiling: Place crab cakes on a greased sheet pan. Broil each side for 5 minutes.

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