Perfect Maryland crab cakes: The key ingredient

When it comes to crab cakes, Maryland does it right.

It's also where "The Early Show on Saturday Morning" found the best crab cakes in America for its special Fourth of July "Taste of America" tour.

For the secret of making a fried lump of crabmeat into a perfect crab cake, the show turned to chef Nancy Longo, of the Pierpoint Restaurant in Baltimore, where they've been cooking up classic Maryland cuisine and delicious crab cakes for 22 years.

Nancy says Pierpoint's crab cakes are as good as they are because it uses "only Maryland crab meat packed with, as the locals say, crab fat and mustard. We we also use very little binder, and a good, strong mustard is key and essential.Also, as Marylanders know, 'Old Bay' is key, as is the right mix of lemon and Worcestershire sauce to round things out. For the smoked ones, we smoke them over fruit woods that give them a light smoked taste.

The secret ingredient?

Ritz or butter crackers processed into crumbs make the best binder!

Enjoy all our "Early Show" recipes!

RECIPES

Maryland Crab Cakes

Serves 4: 2 each

  • 1 pound of jumbo crab meat
  • 1 pound of sweet crab claw meat
  • 30 butter style crackers crushed into crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons parsley
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • juice from ½ of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon melted, salted butter

Clean crabmeat and set aside. Combine all of the remaining ingredients in the order listed and mix thoroughly. Add crab meat and gently fold in so as not to break the lumps. Portion out into 8 crab cakes of equal proportion.

Can be cooked either of two ways:

Broil in a heated broiler in a shallow baking dish wih a small amount of water for about 10 minutes, careful not to burn.

OR: Sautee in vegetable oil until golden brown on all sides.

Smoked Crab Cakes:

To prepare the smoked crab cake, prepare a charcoal grill with hot, grey coals. Place a small stainless steel bowl of water in the coals in the center of the grill. In a separate bowl, soak a few fruit wood chips for approximately 1 hour. Remove wet wood chips from water, and gently drop them on top of hot coals, the wood chips should begin to smoke at this point. Take grill grate and line it with aluminum foil. Poke a few holes in the foil and place crab meat on top. Then place aluminum lined rack with crab meat on top of grill and cover. Allow to smoke for approximately 30 minutes. Remove crab meat and cool for 1 hour. Mix cooled crab meat into same manner as recipe above.

Tartar Sauce

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup capers small
  • 1/3 cup roasted peppers diced fine
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Chop capers and peppers and mix well in a bowl with lemon

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