Very basic Virginia Style Crab Cakes

When I was growing up crab in the Chesapeake Bay were quite abundant. Living on the water my family used to pull up aboput a bushel of crabs a day without even baiting the crab pots. Needless to say I was terrified to swim in our water and we ate crab for practically every meal. This is just a basic recipe for Virginia style crab cakes (for those of you who don't know or don't live on the East Coast, the other alternative is Maryland Style crab cakes which would include raw onions and peppers in the uncooked crabcake mix.)

To make these crabcakes you will need one pound of cooked crab meat (most restaurants I've worked at use lump, but I think backfin or special has much more flavor. Claw meat in my opinion has the best flavor.) One stalk of celery diced fine, one small onion diced fine, one egg, about a quarter cup of mayonaise (see my basic Mayonaise recipe), a tablespoon worcestershire sauce, a tablespoon of dijon mustard, a teaspoon of old bay seasoning, one or more sleeves of saltine crackers in crumbs, and (if you want) the zest of one lemon.

Note: Cracker crumbs work the best and are more traditional, but you could substitute bread crumbs.

Start by sweating the onion and celery until the onion is transluscent. Allow this mixture to cool down. Remove as much moisture from the crabmeat as possible by wringing it in a clean towel. To your crabmeat add the egg, mustard, mayonaise, worcestershire sauce, old bay seasoning, the cooked and cooled onion and celery (If you want Maryland style crab cakes substitute a raw diced onion and raw diced green pepper) and if you wish the lemon zest. Mix in the cracker crumbs until the mixture forms firm crab cakes.

Form the crab cake mixture into patties and deep fry until deep brown. In restaurants often times we will sautee the crab cakes in butter and finish them off in an oven, but the more traditional (and in my opinion more tasty) way is to deep fat fry them.

Serve the crabcakes as an entree or as a sandwich. Make smaller crabcakes to serve as an appetizer.

I usually eat my crab cakes with either tarter sauce or cocktail sauce. For a different twist make a creamy cocktail sauce by mixing mayonaise half and half with coctail sauce.

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