Thursday, June 21, 2007

Crab Cakes with Japanese Bread Crumbs!?

I am getting ready for my road trip to OC today, but first I am vegging in front of the TV watching the CBS Early Show (yep, I'm one of those 37 people that actually watches this instead of Good Morning America or the Today Show). Right now they are showing a segment on "Southern Summer Cooking" (to be posted on the Early Show website forthwith). And Hannah Storm - she's a little chirpy, but then again that's a requirement for morning TV - introduced the segment. Apart from marinating steak in Kentucky Bourbon (yum) and making a hearty peach cobbler (**drool**), they made Maryland-style crab cakes.

What makes a crabcake "Maryland-style" is, apparently, mixing bread crumbs in the crab cake instead of breading it around the crab cake. Well, duh. But the chef used something unexpected: Japanese panko bread crumbs! Interesting. I had not thought of that. It makes 'em lighter and crunchy (cause Marylanders just love crunchy crab cakes).

Seriously, though, it's not a bad idea. So I want to ask y'all, even if you're not lucky enough to be from the Chesapeake, and that includes Virginia, too (yes, the Bay isn't all ours, we just think it is): what do you mix into your crab cakes? Please do tell; I'm going to be using your suggestions over the summer.


hon said...

Saltines or cracker meal, NEVER bread crumbs!

anonymouscoworker said...

Apparently the "Maryland" thing to do is use either stale bread, crackers, or no filling whatsoever. I've heard aunts and uncles, friends and neighbors, and complete strangers get into fights about this.

It's unsettled, in my opinion, to say the least.

danielle said...

Panko bread crumb crab cakes? Sounds good to me. I've eaten a lot of crab cakes (most recently at Warren's Station in Fenwick Island, DE), but never made my own. I really want to have some steamed crabs at least once this summer. Yum. Also, Maryland Crab soup is my favorite, but it's risky to order outside of MD.

John said...

Y'all: I have to say my family usually uses bread crumbs or broken up bread, pre-hard phase, and then eats then on the crackers. Danielle: I think I will have to stop by Fenwick Island over the next day or two! ACW: I could not find a specific definition of what exactly constitutes a "Maryland" crab cake. I thought I had read a definition somewhere in a John Shields cookbook, but I didn't bother to check it out just yet.

jmc said...

Cheap white bread broken into small (pinkie finger nail sized) chunks. Never bread crumbs. Ever.

I worked in a family-run seafood business as a teenager, making thousands crabcakes, gallons of crab soup, and bushels of steamed crabs. The business has long since been sold and the recipe book (hand-written in a black and white composition book) was discarded by the buyer of the business before realizing its importance. I still get asked for the recipe. Um, no, not mine to share; it's Elsie's, and if she won't give it to you then I can't.

John said...

JMC: Now that's the way my family always did it. But I'm still curious to try it with the panko. I really am serious about trying them with all of these binders.

Nanciejeanne said...

I just had crabcakes in Ocean City made with Japanese breadcrumbs this week! It was at Jules restaurant. The crumbs were a different texture than I was used to, almost grainy (I thought it was cornbread/cornmeal.) They did add some spices which tasted of sage to me. So, the finished product reminded me of Thanksgiving stuffing with crabmeat! I am sure the more developed palates would faint to hear me say it, but it really did seem autumnal; not crabby! Maybe with less aggressive seasoning I may have liked them more. Anyway, they did have fantastic tomato/corn/crab soup (that I am going to try to copy.)

My favorite Maryland crabcakes are from The Hobbit. No visible filling at all (they likely use egg to keep it all together.) Not over-seasoned at all. I hate eating a big bread-ball with some traces of crab, blech. Warning: The Hobbit used to be really fun on the "bar" side, but now since it is rebuilt, it is a little fancy-schmancy. No selections at all for children..come on, it is the beach for crying out loud!

Fager's Island are pretty good. The Shark restaurant's used to be good, but they moved somewhere and I didn't go there this year. Also, The Bayside Skillet has a great Crab Cocktail appetizer made with white wine.