Sunday, August 15, 2010

Crab cakes!

Although I had only lived in Washington D.C. for 7 years, that was enough time to be considered a native.  I saw three presidential administrations go and come and come again.  And that is all it takes to know a good crab cake.  All the seafood restaurants and fancy catered lawyerly events I'd ever been to in that town offer some form of crab cake or another.  I've had a few decent crab cakes in my day, but none as good as my own.  I, for one, am heavy on the crab meat and skimpy on the bread crumbs.  And after 7 years of wandering from one event to another from Bethesda to D.C. to Annapolis, I think I know a thing or two about these matters.
These puppies were imported from Maryland and picked clean of their shells by my very own hands.  Most people aren't as fanatical as I am about this sort of thing, but my crab meat came out of a shell, not a can.  I mixed some panko, herbs, and spices.
Then I mixed in the wet ingredients, which included a pound and a half of crab meat.
Then I formed the cakes, dredged them in a little more panko, and fried them in a hot skillet with olive oil.
Add some fresh vegetables and some friendly company and you've got yourself a meal!
Okay.  So here's my recipe:

D.C. Native's Crab Cake (serves 6)
1.5 lbs crab meat, picked clean of shell bits
2 c panko
2/3 c minced scallions and/or chives
1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

In a large bowl, mix 1 cup of panko with the minced scallions/chives, Old Bay, and black pepper.  Add the crab meat, eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, and Worchestershire sauce.  Mix thoroughly but gently so that the crab meat is not too broken up.  Place the remaining 1 cup of panko in a shallow dish.  Taking small handfuls of the crab mixture at a time, form them into a small ball, then flatten into 1-2 inch thick patties.  Coat both sides lightly with panko in the shallow dish.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Place the panko-coated patties on the pan and let fry for about 3 minutes on each side.  You can serve with a horseradishy cocktail sauce (or, as Mr. Rose likes 'em, with capers), but they're more than tasty just plain!


  1. You are so patient! Wish I had the patience to make this yummy crabcakes.

  2. Born and raised in DC myself, and been living in Florida since I finished law school. Seven years later, I have found exactly ONE decent crabcake in the entire Sunshine State (in a blink-and-you-miss-it crabshack owned by retired Annapolis natives). I've been disappointed more times than I can count by the words: "Maryland Style Crab Cake" on a menu. So I am always eager to try out recipes.

    I don't eat mayo, but I tried your recipe with some vegan mayo and it worked well. Adds moisture and a tiny bit of tanginess. I'm also partial to fresh coarsely ground pepper, both for aesthetics and flavor, so I went with that.

    My crabcakes, I go a little heavier on the Old Bay and might occasionally throw in a few capers or minced garlic or finely grated gorgonzola, if I am feeling fancy. But nothing beats the classic style.

    I'm headed back 'home' to DC next month and Jerry's Seafood in Lanham is my first stop. After all these years, I expect one bite of the infamous 'Crab Bomb' will bring tears to my eyes. Can't Wait!


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