Monday, July 27, 2009

Crab Cakes

Crab cakes is a popular appetizer that first surfaced around the Chesapeake Bay area, particularly in the state of Maryland, thus the name, Maryland crab cakes. It consists of fresh crab meat, traditionally blue crab, which is native to Chesapeake Bay, onions, mayonnaise, breadcrumbs and eggs. It can be sautéed, baked or deep-fried. In the Pacific Northwest, Dungeness crab meat is utilized instead of the blue crab.

About the only type of crab meat that is available in my area is pasteurized and comes in cans or pouches. A more expensive version of crab meat is lump meat, which is harvested from the crab's body and is kept whole (hence the lump designation) and is the sweetest part of the crustacean. This is usually reserved for cocktail servings and can be expensive. For crab cakes, it is OK to use regular claw and shredded crab meat.

For my version, I mix the crab meat with parsley, scallion, white onions (all chopped fine), Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, lemon juice, breadcrumbs, eggs (beaten) and salt and pepper. The eggs are used to bind the mixture together. Use your hand to shape the mixture into individual cakes (the size is all up to you: small for appetizers and bigger ones to serve as a sandwich). After shaping, coat them with breadcrumbs thoroughly. The mix should be moist enough for the breadcrumbs to adhere to easily. Then it is time to go into the fryer. Deep-frying these puppies shouldn't take more than 90 seconds each. They should be fried to slightly less than a shade of golden brown as they will continue cooking even after they have been removed from the oil. As for a sauce to go with the crab cakes, I prefer a mustard seed and sour cream or roasted red pepper sauce.

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