Friday, June 12, 2009

The Best Crab Cakes

Six years ago I lived in Tennessee and I visited Annapolis for the first time for a teacher training conference. What impressed me the most was not the perfectly preserved Colonial streets and buildings, though I was charmed by those, but a meal I had at a waterfront restaurant called Phillips Seafood. The crab cakes were recommended so I dutifully ordered them with a glass of chardonnay. They were absolutely amazing (and cost a small fortune at $29 for two small cakes with no sides!) Everyone claims that their crab cakes have hardly any filler, but at Phillips it was true. These crab cakes were really something else. Four years later I moved to Annapolis and I knew I wanted to work at that crab cake place. And I did, for years, until a few months ago. Privy to the inner workings of the prep kitchen I got a pretty good idea of what was in those famous cakes. The exact recipe is closely guarded but here is my best adaptation (with Lisa's help using our leftover meat from the birthday feast) based on stolen glances over shoulders in the back of the house.

The Best Crab Cakes
(An audacious claim I know, but I'm just repeating what everyone around the table said.)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons crab seasoning ( I prefer Phillips Seafood Seasoning rather than Old Bay and I'm not just saying that)
2 teaspoons fresh parsley chopped
2 heaping tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 pounds jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over
2 cups Ritz crackers, crumbled

Mix all the ingredients except the crab meat. Carefully add in the crab meat at the last minute. Form into 2 inch balls and place on a cooking sheet. Refrigerate for an hour. Broil (or bake at 550 degrees) for about 7-10 minutes or until the tops are browned.


Melanie said...

I remember you talking about that meal, but I totally didn't connect that it was at Phillips!

I haven't had stellar crab cakes yet; I'll have to see what I can do about that. Too bad I'll have to eat them all by myself!

Valerie said...

And oh my gosh, what a meal.

Marianne Elixir said...

I don't think I've ever had crab cakes, but these look and sound absolutely delicious. Perhaps I'll have to start planning my own birthday crab feed...

JShaffer said...

Man alive! The absolute best crab cakes I've ever had....ever.