Sunday, February 6, 2011

Delmarvalous Crab Cakes (with Cucumber Tartar Sauce)

This Summer we spent some time in both Bethany Beach, Delaware and Ocean City, Maryland. It was then I first heard the term Delmarva (I don't get out much). According to Wikipedia, Delmarva is a peninsula occupied by Delaware and portions of Maryland and Virginia. (Ah, now you're getting it.) 

Throughout our vacation, my husband Chuck became fond of referring to anything especially nice or fun as delmarvalous. I rolled my eyes and made fun of him for it, but before our trip was over, I was doing it too. I'm sure we're not the first to pass through Delmarva saying that (and I doubt we'll be the last).

Anyway, these crab cakes truly are delmarvalous! And the tartar sauce is cucumberrific (now I've gone too far).

Yield: 6 cakes

Cucumber Tartar Sauce:
1 cup diced (1/8-inch cubes) peeled and seeded cucumber
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 scallion (white and green parts), finely chopped
2 tablespoons nonpareil capers, rinsed
1 teaspoon anchovy paste

Crab Cakes:
1/2 cup + 1/3 cup dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 scallion (white and green parts), finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Delmarva Seasoning (see recipe below) or store-bought Old Bay Seasoning
1 pound fresh lump crabmeat, picked over for cartilage
vegetable oil for deep-frying

To make the cucumber tartar sauce:
1.      In a medium bowl, toss the cucumber with the salt. Let stand about 1 hour. Transfer to a sieve and rinse well under cold running water. Pat the cucumber dry.
2.      In a small bowl, mix the drained cucumber, mayonnaise, scallion, capers, and anchovy paste. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (The tartar sauce can be prepared up to 3 days ahead.)

To make the crab cakes:
1.      Mix 1/2 cup bread crumbs, mayonnaise, egg, mustard, scallion, Worcestershire sauce, and seasoning. Mix in crabmeat with wet hands, form into 6 cakes, about 3 inches wide. Place remaining 1/2 cup bread crumbs in a deep plate. Coat crab cakes in the crumbs and set aside.
2.      Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Into a large deep skillet (preferably cast iron), pour vegetable oil to a depth of 1/2 inch, and heat over high heat until very hot but not smoking. Carefully add the crab cakes and cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Using a slotted spatula, transfer to the paper towels to drain. Serve hot, with the tartar sauce on the side.

Delmarva Seasoning
(Yield: about 3 tablespoons)

2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground celery seed
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Will keep indefinitely in a tightly covered container in a cool, dark place.

from Fried & True by Rick Rodgers

mixing the crab with everything else
coated with bread crumbs
cucumber tartar sauce


Unknown said...

Delmarva in the house! I think you should tackle homemade scrapple next.

Susan said...

Only if you're talking scrumptious apple (I'm not big on meat scrap patties)!

Unknown said...

I don't eat scrapple anymore, being a pescatarian. But I have fond gustatory memories of the Delmarvan delicacy.

Scrapple is my people's Haggis. And it honors the pig in its entirety.

Susan said...

I'm not sure you're doing scrapple any favors by comparing it to haggis!

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