Friday, July 1, 2011

Maryland Blue Crab Cakes



I love crab.  With this said, it makes sense that I would come up with a crab cake recipe having just moved to Maryland.  The Blue Crabs are amazing.  They don't taste like any other crab I have tasted.  The crab comes in a whole slew of sizes.  They range from small to extra large.  The price for a dozen small can be about $40  and this is a lot of money to pay for long hours of cracking and digging...I tried it and, personally, I was fine buying the crab already "picked" fresh the morning of.

Everyone here has their "way" of getting the meat and will happily teach you the "right" way to do it.  At the restaurant we visited, I had two different people instruct me on how to remove the meat.  There was no thought to each of them about touching my food...I laughed about that for days.  They just grabbed a crab, cracked it open, dug the meat out and handed it to me to eat...OKAY then.  I love it here, and the blue crabs and people help make this place wonderful.
I visited a local seafood supplier and we started chatting about a gluten free recipe for crab cakes.  He mentioned they did not have much luck with the cakes staying together when cooking them.  I had a challenge...create a crab cake that stayed together when baked and tasted great.

I chose three different methods: crackers, bread and almond flour.  I have to say that they each tasted really good, but I did have my favorite: crackers.  I loved the texture and flavor of the almond flour, but they did not look like a crab cake.  So, I used them to make the crab cake sandwich.  The crab cakes made with the bread were very delicate.  They were good, but I wanted something I did not have to worry about and baby sit.  I will share with you all three and then you can choose which one you would like to try.  I used one pound of fresh Maryland Blue Crab and this made about 60 small crab cakes.  I made my small so that they would not fall apart.  I can tell you that the cracker recipe will not fall apart no matter what size you make them.  LOL


You can see the size of the bread cubes I used and the size of the cracker pieces I added to my mixes.
This is how I tested this recipe. I made them all at the same size.  Little did I know that I created enough sauce for  a lot more crab cakes than I made..LOL  We learn as we go sometimes.

All of the crab cakes I tested by baking  and frying them both.  I tried them flattened and in balls.  This is a huge debate in Maryland...flat or balls.  I liked them both, other than the fried, flat crab cakes were crispy on the outer edges and soft in the middle.  I like this texture combination.

I used the same sauce for all three recipes.  I will give that once and then you can add the filler of your choice.  ENJOY

Sauce:

This will make enough to be used with 1 pound of crab (3 cups).  If you don't have that much crab, then change measurements accordingly. I would also add the sauce a little bit at a time until all of the crab and filling are covered and able to form into a ball.  I know some people like theirs a little bit drier than others.

1 tsp. lemon
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce   (Lea & Perrins, in the US, its gluten-free)
1 T. prepared mustard.   I used Grey Poupon
1 cup of mayo
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp Bay seasoning. I used this sparingly, it's quite salty and I think develop a taste for this in time.
1 egg
1/4 tsp. onion salt
salt to taste
pepper to taste


Mix all of the above ingredients in a small bowl.  Add this to your selected bread/cracker/almond mix.

Cracker Mix ( My favorite and the easiest to handle)

1 sandwich size baggie full of crackers.  I used gluten free crackers from two brands: Glutino and Schar
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup green onion, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
1 cup of crab pieces, I used large lumps because I wanted them to show up in the pictures, you can use smaller lumps too..they are a bit cheaper.  Do not use artificial crab (this is not gluten free), plus the flavor is not the same.

Break crackers up inside of baggie.  I did not smash my crackers, I wanted pieces.  Chop all of your vegetables.  I did not saute my veggies, I used them raw.  But if you would like to do this it should not make a difference in flavor but it will in texture.  I like a little bit of crunch in my crab cake.

Combine crackers, veggies and 1 cup of sauce (remember sauce above makes enough for 3X the recipe listed above). Using a piece of parchment paper inside a cookie sheet, shape your crab cakes into balls.

This is the bread mix, shaped into balls.
Bake:  preheat oven to 350.  Place cookie sheet in oven.  Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  The larger the crab cake the longer you will need to bake them.  The middle should be warm.

The crab cakes in the back are the almond meal mix and the ones in the front are the cracker mix.

Fry:  using a frying pan with 2 T. of olive oil, fry the balls on one side as a ball, then flip the crab cake and gently flatten the cake.  No need to go crazy and make a pancake, you still want some depth to the cake.  Each side should be golden brown.

Cooking the bread mix.  I fry the bottom first, flip, then flatten lightly.

Bread Mix ( Equally good, but a bit more sensitive to fry)

1.5 cups of cubed bread.  I used my gluten free bread recipe here.
1/4 cup green onion, diced
1/4 cup of celery, diced
1/4 cup carrots, diced.  You can also shred your carrots, this makes the crab cake easier to handle.
1 cup of crab pieces, I used large lumps because I wanted them to show up in the pictures, you can use smaller lumps too..they are a bit cheaper.  Do not use artificial crab (this is not gluten free), plus the flavor is not the same.

Combine all the above ingredients, add 1 cup of sauce.  When I formed my balls using the bread mix, I had to get my hands dirty.  I squeezed the mix together quite hard to form the ball, the sauce dripped on to the cutting board.  The balls formed nicely.

I would not bake these.

Fry: using a frying pan with 2 T. of olive oil, fry the balls on one side as a ball, then flip the crab cake and gently flatten the cake.  No need to go crazy and make a pancake, you still want some depth to the cake.  Each side should be golden brown.

Almond Meal Mix ( These taste awesome, but does not look like a traditional crab cake.  This is gluten free.)

1 cup of almond meal
1/4 cup of green onion, diced
1/4 cup of celery, diced
1 cup of crab pieces, I used large lumps because I wanted them to show up in the pictures, you can use smaller lumps too..they are a bit cheaper.  Do not use artificial crab (this is not gluten free), plus the flavor is not the same.

Combine all of the ingredients and add 1 cup of sauce.  This will look like a bread or cake batter.  I used a cookie scoop and baked them in the oven on a cookie sheet. Baked at 350 for 15 minutes or until done all the way through.  Watch your oven, they can easily be over cooked.  I also fried a few but they still needed to be baked on the inside...I only wanted one step to cook these.  If you want to fry them and then bake, go ahead.




Written by Sherron Watson

3 comments:

  1. Love your crab cake sandwich! Makes me so hungry now :)))

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Tanja, they were pretty good. It was my first time eating them as a sandwich. Enjoy your day!

    ReplyDelete
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