You may already know that I am a Midwest gal born and raised. Truth be told, I love all things from the Heartland—the heady blend of milky, sweet corn juice and melting butter dripping down my wrist from summer sweet corn. And, an August kitchen, already hot, heated a few degrees more so that 96 pints of bread and butter pickles can be ladled into Ball jars. Not to mention, the bright orange brigade of pumpkins that ushers in the crisp fall days of autumn.
As much as I love the comfort foods and aromas of my native Ohio, the ocean, with it’s hypnotic rhythmic tides never fails to touch my soul. When I return to the beach (any beach), I feel that I am returning home. Almost primordial, the salty tang of the air, the sparkling glints of the sun shining like diamonds on the water, the crystalline sands all conspire to welcome me back.
Earlier this month, my family and I spent a week at the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This was our first visit to the legendary area, historical home to pirates, shipwrecks, aviation and the origin of what we now call the Coast Guard. It is also home to an amazing array of sea birds, fish and shellfish. The rustic and romantic villages along Highway 12 were just amazing. We made a point to ask locals where they eat, looking for authentic local seafood. The recommendations led us to some great food. One of my favorites offered the best fried shrimp and hushpuppies I have ever had! Thanks Hatterasman!
It is an understatement to say that my family loves crab (my nine year old can easily eat her weight in crab!). The whole week, I was on the hunt for THE perfect crab cake. I tasted a few delicious runners up, but determined that we could either detour to Maryland on the drive home or I’d have to cook my own crab cake at home. For this trip, the detour was not practical. So, home cooked crab cake was the next best thing! I hope that you have an opportunity to get to the beach soon to do your own crab cake research. Let me know how this one stacks up against what you find at the coast. Enjoy!
1 pound crabmeat, well drained (the best and lumpiest you can find—jumbo lump, lump, claw)
12 saltine crackers, crushed
1 egg beaten
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp Worcestershire
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
salt and pepper, to taste
2TBSP Olive Oil
In a large bowl, add the mayonnaise, mustard, Old Bay seasoning, Worcestershire sauce and egg. Mix well. Add the crushed crackers and blend well. Gently fold in the crab so not to break the lumps (lumps are crab goodness!). Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for about an hour.
Once the crab cake mixture has chilled in the refrigerator, scoop some of the crab cake mixture and hand shape into a patty which is about 2 ½ to 3 inches in diameter. Set aside.
Place the butter and olive oil in a skillet and heat on a medium setting. When the pan is hot, place several of the crab cakes in the pan. Fry the crab cakes for at least 4 minutes per side, or until the crab cake is seared on both sides. Depending upon the size of crab cakes, this recipe should yield about 10 crab cakes.
Since this recipe doesn’t have a lot of filler to bind the cake together, they can fall apart easily. However, that doesn’t diminish the delicious goodness. Chilling the crab mixture before forming and searing it in the hot pan will help keep it all together.
Some folks enjoy crab cakes accompanied with a sauce of choice. A remoulade composed of mayonnaise, ketchup, lemon juice, horseradish and a dash of hot sauce is a southern favorite. Tartar sauce is a quick and easily alternative.