IMPORTANT REVISION:   The crab cake recipe I posted earlier is the wrong one, from a place unrelated to Ropewalk and Maryland.  It’s an okay recipe, but not as good as Ropewalk crab cakes from Maryland.

I’m going to leave the original, “wrong” recipe here, just in case want to try it.  The first one, though, is the “right” one I meant to post in the first place.

I’ve changed the names of the recipes in an effort to mimize confusion; I apologize for whatever confusion might remain.

When I lived in Maryland, I made crab cakes all the time.  They are in Maryland the way barbecued ribs are in Texas:  everybody makes them, and everybody swears that theirs are the best.  You can’t swing a cat in Maryland without hitting a crab cake and the accompanying “Award-winning!  Best in town!” hype.

I can’t fairly say that these are the best; I don’t know.  But they are pretty darned good.  If you like crab cakes, you certainly won’t be disappointed.  If you’re impartial to crab cakes, these might shove you in the right direction.  If you really just don’t care for them at all, well–you’re on your own.  Go eat a Twinkie or something, you Philistine.

Now bear in mind that I made these for a restaurant and we went through them like IHOP goes through pancakes.  Hence the yield is huge.  If you want a yield lower than huge, feel free to divide the recipe however you see fit, but remember:  I ain’t doing the math for you.  No offense, but math and I don’t get along, so that’s where I draw the line.

I stole learned this recipe from Devlin Fredenrich, formerly executive chef at the Ropewalk restaurant (dumb name, I know, but “Ropewalk” is the name of an historic part of Baltimore–where they used to make rope for the bustling shipping trade–or maybe it was shipping bustles).  Devlin’s now a big-shot chef at Johns Hopkins, and I’m sure he’s still making these crab cakes.  I have a hunch that he didn’t come up with this recipe all on his lonesome, that he stole learned it from somebody or somewhere else, but I don’t know.  Maybe the credit is all his.

Ropewalk Maryland crab cakes

8 lbs. lump crab meat

4 lbs. crab claw meat

12 egg whites

1 qt. panko

7 c. Imperial sauce*

1 bunch parsley, leaves only (no stems), chopped fine

Combine the Imperial sauce and the parsley.  Whip the egg whites to soft peaks and fold half into the Imperial mixture.  Fold in the claw meat.  Add the remaining whites, panko, lump crab, and fold well.  Portion into 5 oz. cakes.

*–Imperial sauce

For home purposes, the yield here is ridiculously high.  It does keep well in the refrigerator, though not the freezer.

4 g. mayo

40 Tbsp. (20 oz.) Old Bay™

1 1/2 qt. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 c. Worcestershire sauce

1 c. Tabasco™

8 Tbsp. (4 oz.) celery seeds

2 Tbsp. ground white pepper

24 Tbsp. (12 oz.) Dijon-style mustard

Whisk everything together until nice and smooth.

Neither Ropewalk nor Maryland crab cakes

9 c. panko (Japanese bread crumbs–great stuff)

6 lbs. lump crab meat (yes, I use canned.  I know that fresh is better, but it isn’t always practical.  Just be sure to buy good canned crab)

6 Tbsp. (3 oz.) mayo

2 Tbsp. whole grain mustard

3 Tbsp. Old Bay ™ seasoning

2 tsp. cayenne

6 yolks

2 Tbsp. finely chopped chives

2 Tbsp. finely chopped jalapeño, no seeds or ribs

Mix everything together well–it’s best just to roll up your sleeves and use your hands.  Form it into cakes the size of–well, crab cakes–and pop ’em into a fast oven (400º, let’s say) for a few minutes, until they start to brown.

Spray whatever pan you’re using, or they’ll stick.  They might stick anyway, but it shouldn’t be too bad.

Still feeling crabby?  Well, now you can feel dippy, too.

Crab dip

Again, it makes a lot.  Do the math if you want less.

6 lbs. cream cheese, room temp

1 lb. salted butter, melted

2 c. sour cream

2 c. mayo

2 c. cream

juice of 2 lemons

2 c. Sherry

1/2 c. Old Bay™

3 qts. grated cheese (nothing fancy–a Cheddar/Jack blend is perfect)

4 lbs. crab claw meat

Blend everything together well.  Serve it hot (just glomp some into a sauté pan and stir it around until it gets bubbly) with crostini or hefty crackers.  Diced tomato and/or snipped dill make(s) a nice garnish.  Done.

At Ropewalk, we had two kinds of soup every day, and they were always the same:  cream of crab and Maryland crab.  You’d think that, after a while, Marylanders would OD on crab, but apparently their crab tolerance is superhuman.  We went through both kinds of soup like a sorority girl goes through Kleenex™.

Cream of crab soup

Given its popularity at Ropewalk, this recipe provides you with gallons of soup–literally.  As always, if you want less–well, you know the drill.

5 lbs. onions, chopped

3 qts. celery, chopped

32 bay leaves

4 g. cream

5 g. water

4 lbs. butter

4 lbs. crab base

10 Tbsp. Old Bay™ (5 oz., or a little over half a cup)

3 1/4 lb. flour

Put the onions, celery, bay leaves, cream, and water in a gigantic pot.  Bring it up to a boil, turn it down to a simmer, and let it simmer merrily along for an hour.  In a separate pan, melt the butter, add the Old Bay™ and crab base, and stir it over a medium flame for a minute.  Add the flour a little at a time, et voila:  you have just made a nice roux.

Purée the bejeezus out of the onion, celery, etc. mix (an immersion blender is pretty much a necessity here.  If you don’t already have one, I highly recommend its purchase) and pass it through a strainer.  Whisk in the roux a bit at a time, bring it to a boil, and turn it down to a simmer.  Add the Sherry, give it a good stir, and kill the flame.

Either serve it right away or chill it.  Garnish each serving with bits of crab meat.

Maryland crab soup

This here stuff reminds me of Manhattan-style clam chowder–it’s basically just a standard vegetable soup (like minestrone), but with the addition of seafood.  Between the two, I prefer cream of crab (we sold a lot more cream of crab too, so I wasn’t the only one), but everybody’s different.  You might like Maryland crab soup better, for all I know.  It’s pretty easy (easier than cream of crab) and hard to screw up.

1 qt. onion, small dice

4 oz. garlic, sliced super-thin

2 lbs. green cabbage, chopped

olive oil

1 1/2 c. Old Bay™

4 Tbsp. celery seeds

8 bay leaves

1 qt. Jim Beam

2 c. crab base

4 x #10 cans chopped tomato

3 1/2 g. water

10 lbs. five-way vegetable mix (peas, corn, carrots, green beans, and broccoli or cauliflower is a pretty standard combination)

Sweat the onions, garlic, and cabbage in a bit of olive oil.  Add the Old Bay™, celery seeds, bay leaves, and Jim Beam.  Let it reduce ’til it’s dang near dry (what the French call “au sec“).  Stir in the crab base–make sure it all gets broken up and incorporated–and then the tomatoes and water.  Do the boil/simmer thing again, add the five-way vegetables and let it all simmer for about half an hour.  As before, either serve it right away or chill it, and when you serve it, garnish it with crab meat.

I could give you a recipe for crab quiche, but if you poke around in the archives you’ll find a master quiche recipe.  Just add some lump and/or claw meat, some cheese (again, Cheddar/Jack is nice) and Old Bay™ to that, and there y’are.

Sorry that I have no pictures this time.  I’m too tired to dig around for them.

If you give any of these recipes a try, let me know how it comes out.  And certainly feel free to approach me with any questions or concerns.

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