Maryland Lump Crab Cakes

Once upon a time, I used to be a part of sailboat racing with my husband, Greg. As I had never sailed until I met him back in 2006 and never quite got the itch, often times I would make snacks and treats for the crew on the team. One weekend, we hopped aboard a friend’s sailboat and raced to Oxford, Maryland. The race was quite wild, and I was hoping that the start would be the most exciting part of the day, but the entire race was a crazy ride. We had endured winds of up to 42 mph, and it was kind of (really) scary. Later that night we dined at the Robert Morris Inn, in the Tred Avon dining room. It was a lovely meal with very fun people. We ate delicious food including Maryland crab cakes. I decided when I got home from the race to recreate crab cakes at home.

Making crab cakes is actually pretty easy. There is not much prep time and they cook in under 30 minutes. I recommend buying pre-picked crab meat that is ready to eat – this will make the process much easier! Also, make sure to buy pretty high quality crab meat for your crab cakes. The price might make you cringe, but it is worth it. Plus, making crab cakes at home is always much cheaper than ordering them at a restaurant. If you want to pay the extra money, go ahead and buy the jumbo lump crab meat in place of the lump crab meat. The butter sauce on these crab cakes is also a really nice touch. I drizzled a little on top of each crab cake and then squeezed on some extra lemon juice. So yummy!

Recipe for Maryland Lump Crab Cakes

INGREDIENTS

1 medium egg
1 tsp. of fresh parsley leaves
1 tsp. of dried parsley leaves
1/4 tsp. of kosher salt
a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. of Old Bay Seasoning
3/4 tsp. of Grey Poupon mustard
1 1/2 tsp. of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp. of mayonnaise
8 ounce container of ready to eat lump crab meat, drained of juices
6 – 8 saltine crackers, crushed
a small pat of butter for each crab cake

DIRECTIONS

Adjust your oven so that a rack is on the top, closest to the heat source. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Crack the egg into a large bowl and then use a fork to beat the egg well. Add in the fresh parsley, dried parsley, salt, ground pepper, Old Bay seasoning, Grey Poupon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice. Mix the ingredients together. Fold in the crab meat and mayonnaise and mix. Add in 6 of the crushed saltine crackers and mix well. If the mixture does not appear to stick together well enough for forming into patties, mix in the other 2 crushed Saltine crackers (more if needed).

Use a large spoon to scoop out desired amount of the crab mixture and then form with your hands to make a patty/cake. Place the crab cake onto a baking sheet. Repeat until you have used all of the crab mixture (I made 4 regular-sized crab cakes with the mixture). Place a very small pat of butter on top of each crab cake and then sprinkle each one with a dash of black pepper. Place the baking sheet on the top rack of the oven and bake for 12 – 15 minutes. Then, using a spatula, very carefully loosen the bottom of each crab cake from the pan but do not flip. Rotate the pan and cook for another 10 – 12 minutes, or until the cakes are golden brown.

Serve with lemon-parsley butter sauce (recipe below) and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Eat with your favorite sides (we had oven-baked potato fries and a spinach salad). Enjoy!

Recipe Adapted from: The Chesapeake Bay Crabbiest Cookbook

Lemon Butter Parsley Sauce

INGREDIENTS

1/2 stick of unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. of fresh parsley leaves, chopped
2 tsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp. of white cooking wine
1/4 tsp. of salt
1/4 tsp. of black pepper
1/2 tsp. of Worcestershire sauce
a dash of Sriracha hot sauce

DIRECTIONS

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Once butter has melted, add in all of the other ingredients. Simmer together on low heat for about 45 seconds. Drizzle butter sauce on crab cakes or serve on the side for dipping.

Recipe Adapted from: The Chesapeake Bay Crabbiest Cookbook

The Best Cream of Crab Soup

This soup is possibly the best cream of crab soup I have ever had, and I have had a lot of cream of crab soup in my day, because I live in Maryland! I found the recipe in a cookbook called “The Chesapeake Bay Crabbiest Cookbook,” and it was one of 22 crab soup recipes. I thought the cookbook was the right place to look for my cream of crab soup recipe, especially since I loved a crab cake recipe I had recently used from the book. The soup was easy to make and it tasted amazing. Greg exclaimed how much he liked it, and then after eating it for awhile, he turns to me and says “um, so how unhealthy is this soup, because it seems really rich.” And I was like, “um, well it is CREAM of crab soup, and why do you have to take the fun out of everything?” I then explained to him that although it did have heavy cream, that is was thickened because a flour roux was added to the soup. It is the roux that makes this soup so nice and thick (but of course it’s the cream that makes it so deliciously, um, creamy).  I ended up using crab claw meat for the soup and it worked out well. You can choose to add the sherry, but I don’t think it is necessary. I do recommend sprinkling it with some extra black pepper and Old Bay Seasoning before serving. Oh, and make sure you have some toasty bread or crackers for dipping. Enjoy.

RECIPE FOR THE BEST CREAM OF CRAB SOUP

INGREDIENTS

4 Tbsp. of unsalted butter
1 small to medium yellow onion, minced
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
3 Tbsp. of all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. of Old Bay Seasoning
1 1/4 tsp. of freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. of ground yellow mustard
A pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. of salt
16 ounces of heavy cream
16 ounces of half and half
1 pound of crabmeat (I used crab claw meat)
3 Tbsp. of sherry, optional
Parsley leaves for garnish, optional

DIRECTIONS

Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a large stockpot. Add in the diced onions and pressed garlic and stir. Stir frequently and cook until the onions come to a light golden color.
While the onions are cooking, put the flour, Old Bay Seasoning, black pepper, yellow mustard, cayenne pepper and salt into a smallish bowl and mix.
Once onions are light golden in color, adjust the heat to medium and then make a roux. Add the flour mixture in, and stir continuously to make a blond roux (until the mixture is light golden in color), about 3 – 4 minutes.  After the roux is made, pour in the cream and half and half. Bring it to a boil, and then stir in the crabmeat. Bring the soup back to a boil, and then immediately stir in the sherry, if using.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle each with some extra black pepper and Old Bay Seasoning, and garnish with some parsley leaves, if desired.

Recipe makes approximately 6 servings. 

Recipe Adapted from: The Chesapeake Bay Crabbiest Cookbook, by Whitey Schmidt 

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