Sunday, June 16, 2024

Fathers Day Crab Cakes

 Fathers Day Crab Cakes

So, I made my crab cakes in honor of my Dad for Fathers Day. He so loved them.  Not just any crab cakes…my own Maryland crab cakes that I have been making for years.  You say crab cakes are crab cakes…so what makes yours so special?  Mine are the real deal…authentic Maryland Crab Cakes.

You see we have our own take on Crab cakes here in this state. They have become world famous. Tourists that come to Maryland can’t leave town without eating them. You can find crab cakes just about anywhere….but there is truly nothing like a Maryland crab cake. You see, it’s not only the ingredients you use, it’s also the way you make them.  

Contrary to popular belief, Maryland is not the only state to serve a crab cake. Different variations of crab cakes can be found across the nation, but there is something different about a Maryland crab cake. We Marylander's can see and taste the difference in a Maryland crab cake and any other out there.  We can spot an “impostor” instantly. So what makes the difference when it comes to the Maryland crab cake?

I was born and raised in Maryland and crab cakes were a staple in my home. I grew up on those delicate treasures with the huge lumps of sweet crab seasoned with Old Bay seasoning.  I learned from my Mom….no one made crab cakes like she did. Her crab cakes were the real deal—no onions, peppers, or any other vegetable or fillers. You put nothing in your mix that could over power the crab. Just pure, sweet Maryland blue crab and lots of it. She just added in a little egg and a small amount of breadcrumbs to hold them together. And then the secrets….. 


Every Marylander has a tin of Old Bay in the pantry. We love this stuff and we use it a lot in our cooking.  Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can leave the Old Bay out of a Maryland crab cake. It would be like making a cake without sugar. 


You just bought a very expensive pound of Maryland blue crab. The trick is treating it like the pure gold it is. It is the last thing you add to the mix and you use your hands to tenderly combine it without breaking up those glorious huge lumps of goodness. It is the main attraction…be gentle and understand that no matter how many recipes you see out there for a bunch of extra ingredients, don’t go there. You must go light on the filler and the binder and make the sweet succulent crab the star of the recipe.

You're Not Making Hockey Pucks
I cringe every time I see a crab cakes shaped and packed into a round patty and and covered in heavy bread crumbs. These aren’t crab cakes. They are fried fish cakes. Crab cakes should be loosely formed balls of jumbo lump crab meat. Just remember the more compressed and filled with things that over power the crab, will give you a terrible tasting crab cake.
The ingredients
I laugh at most crab cake recipes out there when I see them outside of Maryland, DC or Virginia.  I gasp when I read chopped onion, hot sauce, red peppers, smoked paprika, jalapenos!  You have to keep it simple!  Your thought process while making crab cakes should always be about making sure you in no way hide the taste of sweet beautiful crab meat.  No onions!  No peppers!  No heavy seasonings. Nothing to hide the taste of that crab!

What kind of crab meat?  I use only Jumbo Lump blue crab meat. You want to buy the lumps so don’t consider anything like “special crab meat or claw meat.  It has to say LUMP on the label. Keep in mind that you are about to splurge here because you probably won’t pay less than $25-30 a pound. This is hand-picked and there are only two back fin lumps per crab. So be prepared to pay for the best.

My Maryland Crab Cakes

1 lb. Jumbo Lump crab meat
1 large egg, beaten 
1/4 cup mayonnaise (I use Hellman’s)
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs, from 2 slices white bread, crust removed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain crab meat and put in a bowl and set aside. 

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, mayo, mustard, Old Bay, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Gently stir in crab meat and breadcrumbs and mix with hands lightly without breaking up the lumps. Mixture will be somewhat wet. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for about 20 minutes or refrigerate for at least an hour or more.

Once chilled, shape the mixture into rounded mounds whatever size you'd like. Do not flatten or make into patties. Place on lightly sprayed baking sheet with sides. Spray the tops very lightly with non-stick spray for browning.   Just look at those big lumps of sweet succulent crab! 

Just before putting crab cakes in the oven, drop three or four ice cubes onto the baking pan in between crab cakes. This will keep the high temperature from burning the bottoms.  

Bake in hot 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes depending on the size you made your crab cakes. 

Can't you just taste them!  Oh My Goodness.  There is nothing like a Maryland Crab Cake!   This recipe makes 4-5 big jumbo lump crab cakes.

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