The original settlers of Maryland sailed up the Chesapeake Bay and discovered land that was rich in game, fowl, fish and seafood; as well as fertile soil and plentiful woodlands. They prospered there and as they did so did the type of meals they served.

Today Marylanders enjoy a great variety of fish and seafood, and crab is among their favorites Turned into crab cakes or added to casserole, salads or omelets, stuffed into a poato or mushroom, crab is a versatile seafood that is prepared in dozens of delicious ways. The most popular crab is the Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab (Callinectes sapidus) for this American east coast classic. This recipe takes about 20 minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to cook. Some folks will insist that traditional Maryland crab cakes are spicier than most. Others prefer that they’re made with green peppers or mayonnaise. Even our family cooks can’t agree on what makes a Maryland crab cake, but they would all claim theirs is the best and I never got tired of taste testing them! My grandmother made crab cakes every Friday during the summer months and this recipe is loosely based on one she clipped from a newspaper many years ago.

    1-Tablespoon Whipped Butter
    1/4 Cup Onion, chopped
    1 Garlic Clove, minced
    2 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
    ½ Cup Low Fat Milk
    11 Ounces Thawed and Drained Frozen Crabmeat, flaked
      Or if you are lucky enough to have fresh crabmeat available, about 1 pound fresh. You can use backfin in large chunks to make tall mouth watering and decadent cakes. Make sure you pick through the meat extra well to remove any cartilage.
    3/4 cup Breadcrumbs, they can be seasoned like Italian, divided
    1 Egg
    1 Tablespoon Each Chopped Fresh Parsley and Worcestershire Sauce
    ¼ Teaspoon Each Hot Sauce and Powdered Mustard
    Dash, Ground Nutmeg
    2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

In a small sauce pan melt butter; add garlic and onion and sauté over medium heat until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and stir quickly to combine. Gradually stir in milk and cook stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens, 4 to 5 minutes; remove from heat. Add remaining ingredients except ¼ cup breadcrumbs and the oil. mixing well; shape into 8 patties

On a sheet of waxed paper or a paper plate spread remaining ¼ cup bread crumbs; add patties and turn to coat. In a 10 inch non-stick skillet heat 1 tablespoon of oil; add 4 patties and cook over medium heat until browned and firm, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Set aside and keep warm; repeat the procedure using the remaining oil and crab cakes.

Serve hot with cocktail sauce horseradish sauce or lemon wedges.

If desired. Slip them under a preheated broiler until nicely browned, turning to cook evenly, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Or crab cakes may be deep fried at 350 degrees for 2 or 3 minutes or until browned.

Makes four servings of two crab cakes each.

Crab cakes can be partnered by a variety of side dishes. French fries and coleslaw are the traditional sides, but fresh asparagus, buttermilk biscuits, and potato salad are terrific as well. My grandmother always served her crab cakes with corn on the cob, potato salad and a platter of sliced garden tomatoes. My husband insists that the most important side dish is an ice-cold beer. I say, all you really need is a crab cake and a dash of Tabasco sauce for a slice of heaven.

How about some Cherry Winks for dessert?

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