Transport yourself to the East Coast with Bob’s Maryland-Style Crab Cakes! This take on traditional Maryland crab cakes tastes heavenly… and packs fewer calories because it’s broiled instead of pan fried. These crab cakes call for few ingredients and highlight the delicate deliciousness of jumbo lump crab meat. Make them for your next get-together and serve the Maryland way with sliced tomatoes, sweet corn on the cob, and freshly baked bread.
I started playing basketball at the precocious age of four. I don’t remember much about it other than I was afraid to touch the ball.
Fast forward a few years… I don’t know what changed because all of a sudden, I was a basketball machine.
I began dreaming about playing varsity basketball in high school. And as I got older, I dreamt of being the first woman to play in the NBA. Mind you, this was back in the day when the WNBA was nonexistent, so it was something to aspire to.
Big, big dreams for a lanky girl.
I continued playing basketball throughout childhood and made the middle school team. And when I finished the eighth grade, I made plans (and set goals!) to try out for the high school team.
The August before ninth grade began, I got a call from a friend who asked if I was interested in playing volleyball.
“Volleyball?” I asked, rather skeptically.
“Volleyball,” she confirmed. And then launched into a spiel about how she knew I could jump because I played basketball. “Wouldn’t it be fun to try a different sport?” she asked.
I took the bait… and made the team. Not on skill, mind you, but on sheer athletic ability.
(I promise this story is going somewhere. And I promise I’m not bragging about my former athletic prowess. It plays into this. I swear.)
This same friend invited me to try out for one of the Memphis-area club volleyball teams after our school season was winding down freshman year… and I agreed yet again. I enjoyed volleyball, even though it was completely different than the sport I played my entire life. I figured since the club volleyball season would be played on weekends, it wouldn’t conflict with my basketball schedule.
So I tried out… and made the team.
(Are we sensing a theme here? Young Erin was stupidly athletic. And I wish I could go back and capture that ability again because these days? Anything athletic is a struggle, even though I still have a darn good time playing sports.)
Our club team trained hard, and we traveled to a few tournaments during the winter and spring months. One of the tournament locations was Baltimore.
I’d never been to Maryland before the trip. We stayed close to the harbor, and we were able to walk to the Convention Center, where the tournament was being held, as well as visit all the restaurants and shops in the neighboring buildings. I absolutely adored Baltimore, its hustle and bustle, and how different a coastal city was from my (somewhat) landlocked hometown.
I tried my first Maryland crab cake that trip… and I will never forget it because the crab cake was damn good.
So when Bob, my mom’s boyfriend, suggested making crab cakes one evening when we were visiting Memphis last month, I was totally down. I’ve eaten a lot of crab cakes in my day, but I’ve never made my own… so I was down for us cooking the classic coastal dish so long as he taught me how.
Bob is from Boston, but he’s lived all over the place, Maryland included. And he has a culinary degree. And he’s a fantastic cook.
So one evening, we whipped up his Maryland-Style Crab Cakes. We’ll call them Maryland-style because they’re not pan-fried or cooked in butter… but you needn’t worry. These crab cakes are chock full of lump crab meat and so, so, so delicious.
Here’s how we made them:
- 2 lb. jumbo lump crab meat
- 2 slices white bread, slightly stale and crumbled in the food processor (1 slice per pound of crab meat)
- 2 eggs
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- A dash of black pepper
- Old Bay Seasoning, for sprinkling
- Prepare a large baking sheet by placing a piece of parchment paper on it.
- Measure all the ingredients into a large bowl together.
- Mix the crab cakes together by hand. Mixing by hand will ensure the crab stays delicate and keeps its shape. We want big chunks of crab in our crab cakes! Once mixed, the ingredients will look wet, but not pasty or lumpy.
- Form into 10 patties that are 1” (or slightly more than 1") thick. If the patties are too thin, they can break more easily and will be domed on the top.
- Place the cakes onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with the Old Bay Seasoning.
- Set aside for one hour. The crab cakes should rest so the bindings can take hold.
- When the crab cakes have rested for an hour, heat the broiler. Place the pan you will use to cook the crab cakes on in the broiler to heat with it. (You want to do this so that the bottoms of the crab cakes will brown.)
- When the broiler is ready, remove the pan from the oven.
- Transfer the prepared crab cakes onto the hot pan, then place in the oven.
- Broil for 4-6 minutes on the second from top shelf or until the crab cakes have browned and firmed up. They should be slightly crisp around the edges.
- Serve warm with a side of boiled corn and fresh cut tomatoes.
If you would prefer to make these the more traditional way, here's what Bob says: You can also pan fry in a hot pan with shorting until golden brown on each side. If you use this method, the skillet needs to have a thicker bottom so it heats evenly. While you want the oil hot before adding the cakes, you don't want it to be too hot so that the oil smokes because it could potentially burn burn the crabmeat.