To tell the truth, I only recently started making crab cakes, so I’m no expert at it. But last night I decided I wanted to make my own, so I scoured the internet for recipes. There are lots of ways of making crab cakes, but the basic ingredients are crab meat (obviously!), preferably either lump–which I used–or backfin, mayonnaise, egg and just enough bread crumbs to bind the mixture. (A bad commercial crab cake will often have so much bread that it tastes more like stuffing.) You can flavor this mixture with an assortment of other things, most commonly mustard, minced scallion, worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper,parsley, and, here on the shores of the Chesapeake, a dash of Old Bay seasoning is a must. (Many recipes call for some chopped bell pepper, but I find that the taste of the pepper overwhelms the taste of the crab, so I always omit it.) Make sure to mix gently (a spatula works best) and not to overmix–you don’t want an entirely even texture and the crab meat should remain in smallish chunks. You then form the cakes, which can either be perfectly rounded, almost like a large meatball, or slightly flattened like a hamburger. You then fry the cakes in moderately hot oil until golden brown on the outside. If frying crab ‘balls’, you should deep fry them. Crab ‘burgers’ can be shallow fried. If shallow frying, you need to be careful when you turn them, since the cakes do tend to fall apart, even with the various binding agents.
Crab cakes are typically served with cole slaw and French fries, but I prefer to serve them simply on a bed on green salad dressed with oil and vinegar (or oil and lemon). Tartar sauce is also de rigueur but they are already so rich, I find a slice of lemon to sprinkle on top is all the condiment that I need.
NOTES: The freshness and type of crabmeat really makes all the different between a great crab cake and an ordinary one. Find the best crabmeat you can afford, and try not to get the kind that breaks up into shreds. Crab cakes should contain nice hunks of crab meat, not have a uniform texture.
Obviously, this was not one of Angelina’s specialities, but I like it anyway! :=))