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Crab Cakes Win By A Claw

Horse races (like baseball, basketball, and hockey) have their own set rules. Yet, at all these events, one thing remains constant: There's always a little drink and a great sampling of food. At the Kentucky Derby, run May 4, the tradition is fried chicken, potato salad, biscuits and mint juleps. For the second leg of the coveted Triple Crown, the 127th Preakness Stakes, seafood is surely the dish du jour.

On May 18 in Baltimore, the stars on the straight away of the Pimlico Race Course will likely be: War Emblem, Proud Citizen and Perfect Drift (first, second and third place finishers of the Kentucky Derby). But the real winners off the track will be those eating chef Flay's crab cakes.

According to Barron's Food Lover's Companion, crab cake is a mixture of lump crab meat, bread crumbs, milk, eggs, scallions and various seasonings, formed into small cakes and fried until crisp and golden brown.

The Maryland Blue Crab is the source for all lump crabmeat. So therein lies our connection: The Preakness Stakes is run in Baltimore, where the Maryland Blue Crab can be found.

The blue crab's scientific name translates as "beautiful swimmer that is savory" and the meat itself is sometimes compared to the sweetness of lobster meat. Crabs are best appreciated by cracking and eating steamed hardshells or feasting on softshells. The meat is prepared at home and in restaurants either steamed, sauteed, in crab soup, crab dip, Crab Imperial, or as Maryland Crab Cakes.

The complaint many have with the crab cakes is that they have too much bread in them, and not enough crabmeat. But Flay's crab cakes call for no bread or breadcrumbs at all.

The following are his recipes:

Crab Cakes with Three Different Toppings
Serves: 6-8

Crab Cake Ingredients

6 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup thinly sliced chives
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 pounds lump crab meat, picked over (this means separating the shell from the crab meat)
Few dashes of Bobby Flay's Hot Sauce
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups seasoned flour


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a skillet over low to medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and saute the onion and garlic until soft.. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the onion mixture, mustard, mayonnaise, crab and salt and pepper, to taste. Refrigerate, covered for 1 hour or up to 1 day. Form the chilled crab mixture into 12 (2-inch) patties 1/2-inch thick and dredge in the flour.

Heat the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and fry the cakes for about 3 minutes on each side, or until crusty and lightly browned.

Place the cakes on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until just cooked through. Serve with one of the toppings.
Charred Corn & Red Pepper Relish
Yields: 2 cups


8 ears corn, grilled and kernels removed
2 medium red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and finely diced
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper


Combine all ingredients in medium bowl and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
Whole Grain Mustard Sauce
Yields: 1 1/2 cups


1 cup best quality mayonnaise
1/4 cup whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoons chopped tarragon
Salt and freshly ground pepper


Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Bobby Flay's Lemon-Habanero Tartar Sauce is ready-made and it's available at

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