Holy crab. As scripted as it may seem, that was my first thought after biting into one of these crab cakes. I wonder if the rec center will have ice skating this year. My second thought. See, I’m just like you. Nothing to it. I hope I never move to Maryland and then move away from it because then I’ll have to give up these crab cakes. And here we are once more. These crab cakes and red crab soup, sent from Kent Island Crab Cakes, are the perfect example as to why if you decide to try something new that you’re not a fan of, you should give the best of its kind a fighting chance. These will make fish nerds rejoice and fish haters give up the fight.
Five years ago, I wouldn’t have eaten this. I wonder what kind of culinary butterflied chicken effect would have occurred with my palate had I been introduced to all things seafood with these. They’re the best way to introduce a seafood virgin into the watery depths, as they’re perfect whether unadorned or dipped in remoulade sauce (this one being a whimsical creation of mine with a fresh pepper from the garden) and have consistent and familiar qualities. Soft shell crab may be delicious, but put one in front of a newbie eater and watch them cry. And yet, fish sticks aren’t quite the right message to send, either. These crab cakes in particular have the familiar patty shape and mild flavor, yet are so tender and crispy that it’s hard to associate them with any other crab cake you’ve probably had.
Very few people wake up in the morning with the desire to sink their teeth into a crab cake. And yet on this rainy morning, that’s exactly what I felt like doing. Crab cakes are a misnomer for these, though. Crab pies are more like it. The cake part of these, usually disguised by bread crumbs or filler, is completely eliminated. All these have are chunks of blue crab and mayonnaise, and some seasonings to make the buttery crab pop. Cooking these took about fifteen minutes in a hot pan with oil and butter. Moving or flipping these is a task better left to those trained in delicately cutting bomb wires or setting the Guinness World Record for most hairs split. Move too quickly and you’ll dislodge some of the crab meat. This accounts for the less-than-pornographic photographs shown. Unfortunately, this was the case for a few of our cakes, but it had a silver lining. With each broken crab cake came a slew of airy crispy-crunchies, leftover brown bits that had taken on a life of their own in the hot pan. Later, we added them on top of our cakes as little preludes of what was to come. And delicious preludes they were.
We ate our cakes with a side of homemade remoulade, though it was somewhat insulting to the dish after the first bite, and with the storm brewing outside, had a cup of the Maryland red crab soup that had been sent along with the package. Like the crab cakes, the soup had chunks of fresh blue crab meat floating around, and was mixed with an assortment of vegetables and a red, spiced broth. We found that the soup’s flavor was incredibly concentrated, and though we followed the preparation instructions to a T, noticed that the resulting soup was too thick and needed water. With a cup added to the broth, none of its flavor was diluted. It was exactly enough for each of us to have about a half cup’s worth as a taste. Not enough to eat alone, but perfect with the cakes.
The flavor of the broth wasn’t quite as crab-heavy as the cakes were. Understandable, but it just didn’t have that same emphasis on the crustacean and we were left feeling a little empty after the great crabby epiphany that had just occurred. The broth had pieces of crab, but was strongly flavored with Old Bay seasoning, a tasty counterpart but just not what we’d expected.
I can’t emphasize how perfect these are on their own, in the flesh. The size is just enough to work as a full meal for two. I’m half inclined to toss my epic holiday feasts and just mail-order all my favorite treats from the last few years for people to nosh on. Less is more…so, so, so much more here.