Even though I live in Jacksonville I'm from Maryland originally, as a matter of fact most people in Jacksonville are from somewhere else. Being from Maryland I do love crab cakes but the ones you see in stores and restaurants around here go from mildly passable to pathetic and everything in between. The problem lies with a few things, over reliance on expensive crab meat, the use of too much fillers, i.e. bread crumbs, and the wrong seasoning. Every true Marylander knows that to make the perfect crab cake you shun the Special and Jumbo Lump Crab meat at $21 to the pound and buy claw at $10 to the pound. Claw meat is the most tender, most delicate and has the best flavor. In the recipe you use just enough crab meat to bring the pattie together but never enough to make a bready cake. And as for the seasoning, Old Bay, that ubiquitous seafood seasoning that can be found everywhere from frontier Alaska to Davao City, Philippines, has too much ginger in it to make it respectable crab seasoning. For the authentic Maryland flavor you Phillips Seasoning1 or Wye River Seasoning.2
Authentic Maryland Crab Cakes
16oz of Claw Crab Meat
In a bowl beat together:
2 large eggs
2tsp Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
1tsp Nellie & Joe's Authentic Key Lemon Juice (or equivalent, do not use "Real Lemon" or any other
1tsp Seafood Seasoning (as described above)
1 sprig fresh parsley chopped fine
1/4tsp Coleman's English Mustard Powder (or Equivalent)
2T Duke's Mayonnaise
1T Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard
1T butter, melted
Add 1/2C bread crumbs and crab. Taking a rubber spatula gently fold mixture together until blended. Shape into patties and chill, covered, for at least 1 hour before cooking. Can be pan fried in crisco (best) or baked in over at 350° until well browned.
There is also a way to make these without using any crab. The idea probably came about in areas where crab was expensive or during the depression when it was unaffordable for poor families. Click the link Facebook) for Mock Maryland Crab Cakes. If you're looking for inexpensive crab meat try Costco or BJ's.
1) Can be found in most stores, I couldn't find a good online vendor.
2) Wye River Original Red Seasoning