Want to get someone fired up in a hurry (and not bring down the mood with politics)? Talk about regional cuisine. From pizza to hoagies (yeah, that’s right, I said hoagies.), fried chicken to hot dogs, this great nation has our caloric watermark for every nook and cranny of the food pyramid, pie chart, or whatever it is these days.
Around my area, we are known for our Maryland Crab Cakes. Not tiny greasy balls of filler and mush. Around here, we’re dishing up fist sized cakes of fresh lump crab meat and hardly anything else. And any local will tell you, the secret is in the spice. Old Bay. You can google spice mixes all day long, but nothing is going to give your crab the punchy authentic Eastern Shore flavor like a dash of the classic blend. It’s as simple as that. Fresh crabs and a staple spice mixture. Let the food do the talking.
You’ll be too busy shoving more in your face to debate.
- 8 oz lump crabmeat do your best to remove all shell pieces
- 1 cup milk
- 7 or so saltine crackers crushed into fine crumbs
- 2 scallions minced
- 1 tbs unsalted butter melted, plus 1 teas softened
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tbs mayo
- 2 teas Dijon mustard
- 1 teas hot sauce
- 1/2 teas Old Bay seasoning
- lemon wedges tartar or cocktail sauce for serving
Combine the crabmeat and milk in a bowl and soak for 20 minutes in the fridge, making sure the crabmeat is submerged. Drain and press out excess liquid. Lay crab on a paper towel lined plate and pat dry.
Combine the scallions, butter, egg yolk, mayo, hot sauce, and Old Bay. Fold in 3 tbs of the crushed crackers and the crab meat.
Using your hands, form the mixture into 2 large portions. Press the bottom flat and leave the topped domed.
Using a small plate, spread the rest of the cracker crumbs in an even layer. Gently, press the crab cakes into the crumbs to coat the top and bottom. Arrange on a plate, cover, and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour and up to 8.
When ready to cook, preheat the broiler with the rack positioned about 6" away from the element.
Grease an oven safe skillet or baking dish with the remaining 1 teas butter and place the crab cakes in the pan. Broil until golden brown on top, about 15 minutes under a watchful eye as broilers can differ from oven to oven (center should register 140 degrees F).
Serve with lemon wedges and desired sauce if needed.
Cooks Country Aug / Sept 2014 (and every single Eastern Shore native there ever was)