Crab Cake Appetizers

“Crab cakes and football, that’s what Maryland does!” – Wedding Crashers

To live near Maryland is to know (and love) crabs: steamed, dipped in butter, made into cakes.  When I was home for the weekend I made a crab cake appetizers for my parents and grandparents.  It was so fun to cook for people who have cooked for me my whole life, and to make something that doesn’t show up too often in South Florida.  Florida is all about stone crabs, not Maryland crabs.

Crab Cake Appetizer, makes 14
2 containers of 8oz crab meat (I used lump and claw)
1 egg, gently beaten
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/8 cup of Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 lemon juiced
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay (this is not exact*)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 shakes of Worcestershire sauce
3 cracks of fresh black pepper
sprinkle of salt
2 tablespoons of mayonaisse
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay
1/4 lemon juice
chopped chives

In a medium sized bowl empty the crab and with a gentle hand and wooden spoon mix the different kinds of meat together.  You can use all the same kind of meat, but generally one is considerably more expensive than the other, and they have a different flavor, so I combine for more depth.

In the empty crab cup, beat the egg and then add it to the crab.  Add the mustard, and a couple of squirts of the Worcestershire sauce, the lemon juice and the Panko.  

You’re probably noticing that the measurements for these ingredients are not overly specific, that’s because we’re cooking and not baking, and because flavor and spice is personal.  Mark loves Old Bay so I tend to go stronger with that, and I don’t care for salt so I tend to go lighter.  If you want spicy crab cakes, add more red pepper – it’s that simple!

Again with the wooden spoon, very gently incorporate all of the ingredients, being careful to not pulverize the crab.  A great crab cake is full of big, pump pieces of meat.  I usually take a sniff of the crab mixture to see if it seems balanced, and then maybe add more spices if necessary.

Now, form small balls of the crab mixture is the well of the palm of your hand.  These just need to be gently formed, not packing them too tightly.  Place all of the uncooked cakes on a plate and cover with plastic to refrigerate for about 30 minutes.  Refrigeration lets the crab cakes firm up before they are cooked.

In a large pan over low/medium heat add a touch of butter and get to cooking.  Each side takes 3-4 minutes.

When the crab cakes are out of the pan, give them a few moments to cool and mix up the sauce (mayonnaise, lemon juice and Old Bay) and chop up some chives.  For an extra kick you can add a dash of Tabasco to the sauce.

Place all of the crab cakes on a platter and give some (or all) a small dollop of sauce and a sprinkle of chives, serve with fresh lemon, oh and Enjoy!

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