Thursday, August 23, 2012

Brits Try To Envision the Perfect Crab Cakes

Actually, not a bad article in a British paper/blog about how to make crab cakes.  And they are properly humbled by the Maryland crab cake:
Crab cakes are a particular speciality of Maryland, as eager Wire-watchers will testify – McNulty even uses a box as a bribe in season one of the Baltimore-based drama. Interestingly, the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America suggests that the recipe dates back to the earliest European settlers, who, because of the labour-intensive nature of harvesting crab, would stretch the meagre results by using the meat in "small fried cakes". 

Such frugal offerings are unlikely to pass muster with today's Americans however – they rate their crab cakes on the quantity of crustacean. As Tom Douglas, the author of I Love Crab Cakes warns, "beware the poor fellow who gets dinged for using 'too much filler,' a common reference to too many crumbs in your cake, for he shall hang his head in shame".

In Britain we may not enjoy the same abundance of seafood, but we do produce some great crab at this time of year, albeit of a rather more diminutive nature than they might be used to across the pond. Such a delicacy doesn't deserve to be buried in melted cheese, or overwhelmed with spices: the great thing about the American crab cake is that it really is more crab than cake. So, as our own season reaches its glut, it's time to crack open the claws and get crabbing.
I had some really good crab cakes at a restaurant in Silver Spring not too long ago.  We were attending my aunts 80th birthday party at O'Donnell's  Sea Grill in Gaithersburg.  Huge chunks of pure lump meat, minimal filling, well seasoned.  I was shocked to find crab cakes that good that far from the water...

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