Sunday, September 18, 2011

Crab Season

Moving to waterfront Maryland, we immediately bought our crab pots and started catching Maryland blue crab that abound in the Chesapeake Bay.  We've only missed a couple weekends since moving we've had fresh crab every weekend for almost 3 months now.  We love it.  The Maryland way is steamed with tons of Old Bay and salt, optionally dipped in vinegar.  It's so much work to pick the meat out, so it becomes more of a social event than anything.  Sit around for hours, have something to eat other than crab, and then pick at the delicious crab in between.  And for the diligent workers that have the determination to pick even after dinner is over, there are CRAB CAKES!  In honor of the time I've spent digging in the gills, mustard, and claws of these creatures, I will post our favorite crab cake recipe thus far.  It's a Donald Barickman recipe (owner of Charleston restaurant Magnolias)...we've played around with it some...added an egg and more or less ingredients dependent on the amount of crab meat you actually have.  And for those non-crab eaters out there, I'll post a favorite side dish (besides the mandatory corn on the cob with fresh basil)...cheddar chive biscuits.  
Life is great on the Chesapeake Bay....taken from our bedroom window!  Good morning crabs!

Crab Cakes
1/2 C minced red onions
1/3 C minced red bell pepper
1 tbl minced fresh tarragon (we've also tried cilantro and parsley)
1/3 C mayo (don't skimp on's just not the same...tried it...)
1 lb crabmeat (good luck)
3/4 C panko (the Japanese bread crumbs...also used for making mozzarella sticks!)
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne (Josh does more)
6 tbs olive oil

Place onions, bell pepper, tarragon, and mayo in a mixing bowl and combine.  Fold in the crabmeat.  Add the panko and season with salt, pepper, and cayenne.  Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes as the panko will absorb some of the moisture to hold the mixture together.  Form the mixture into 8 equal size 3-oz cakes.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes before cooking.  Preheat oven to 350.  You can then sear the cakes on a frying pan and then bake or just fry them or just bake them.  The least messy (and still very very tasty) is baking.  I love these.

 Cheddar Cheese Chive Buttermilk Biscuits
1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 C shredded cheddar
1 tsp cracked black pepper (I use a little more)
1/4 C chives
1/2 stick chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425.  Combine dry ingredients.  Blend in butter with your fingertips.  Add milk and stir until a dough forms.  Knead dough.  Form biscuits (makes 8 large biscuits) and bake 12-15 minutes.  Devour!  Life couldn't be better!

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