Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Weekend Part Un - Crabby Patties

Shouldn't crabby patties be crab cakes? Where do they keep the cows - on underwater ranches? And how do they keep the buns from getting soggy?

I had my share of crustaceans this past weekend. I only get to eat steamed crabs once a summer, usually as part of my husband's birthday celebration and courtesy of my Mother-in-law. I boycotted them for a few years, since Maryland crabs are becoming scarce, but last year I was back at them. Why let all the other bastards enjoy them? Clearly my not eating them wasn't preventing mallets from smashing down all over the state.

This year's batch came from a little place in Dundalk whose name I cannot divulge (because I do not know it). It is a place that mercifully steams only in Old Bay, not rock salt or any other lip-burning overly-salinated local crab spice. There were three dozen of the succulent beauties, larges, plus corn on the cob (the usual insipid tiny-kerneled sweet white corn that Marylanders seem to like for no good raason. Whatever happened to corn that tastes like CORN?), chicken fingers, and hush puppies made by my enterprising Brother-in-law, who bought a Fry Daddy just for the occasion. And beer. Gotta have beer with crabs, hon! Something light and refreshing. No, not Bud - that's horse piss. We opted for Coronas this year.

Were it not for the filling - and addictive - hush puppies, I probably could have done better than seven crabs. They were meaty and sweet, gently kissed with cayenne and celery seed. Picking gets tiring after a while, as does the relentless barrage of protein. But it is oh so good.

Bloated and smelling like low tide, we returned home to watch the Ravens lose their second pre-season game. Thankfully this produced no nausea; crab sick can be pretty horrendous.

There were leftover crabs and Neal and I picked the meat from six of them to take home. I knew we had a restaurant reservation (more on that later) for Sunday evening, and Monday we would most likely be eating out as well, so I decided to use the extra crab meat for breakfast. Originally intending to make an omelette, when I saw that there was well over a cup of meat, I made crab cakes instead.

1 cup freshly-picked blue crab meat
6 Keebler Club crackers, bashed into bits
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay
1 healthy tablespoon mayonnaise (an oxymoron!), preferably Kewpie (a Japanese brand)
Fresh snippage of parsley and chives from the kitchen porch garden

Mix together, form into 4 small cakes.
Heat about a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a medium skillet. When hot, add the crab cakes and cover. When browned on the bottom side, gently flip them and brown the other side.

Serve with buttered toast and thick slices of home-grown tomato, plus coffee and orange juice. You'll never go back to pancakes!