Fred Meyer was featuring cooked fresh Dungeness crabs for $2.99 a pound — how could I resist? I pulled Tom Douglas’ I Love Crabcakes off the shelf and decided to go with Chesapeake Bay Classic Crab Cakes. I usually make Etta’s Classic, but my daughter isn’t so fond of all the bell pepper in that recipe. And since she’s home from college on winter break, it’s only polite to make food she likes. The recipe calls for Old Bay Seasoning, but my can of that tasty mix was at least 10 years old, with pretty much only the celery seed retaining any flavor. So, off to the internet to find a recipe. This one looked good, so I made up a small batch.
Crabs were duly cracked and picked over, the Old Bay mayonnaise gently folded around the crab meat, breadcrumbs were pressed into the delicate patties (note to self: drain crab meat before mixing in mayo, it was rather more liquid than it should have been), and then the crabcakes were put in the fridge to rest and firm up for a couple of hours.
Gently sauteed in butter, these tender morsels were a treat. The mix of fresh spices in the Old Bay seasoning were a revelation: home ground bay leaves, ginger, clove, allspice, even a touch of cardamom. This made for a crabcake of unparalleled flavor, yet didn’t overwhelm the delicate sweetness of the crabmeat. A batch of the seasoning poured into a pretty jar would make a great gift!