Crab cakes eas­ily can be pre­pared, en­joyed at home

The Commercial Appeal - - Mlife - Mar­ket Bas­ket

Maybe some cou­ples cel­e­brate spe­cial oc­ca­sions by mak­ing reser­va­tions at a restau­rant, but we tend to make it a nice evening at home. Ev­ery April on our an­niver­sary, we en­joy home­made crab cakes.

Some­times, I serve it with a creamy Di­jon dress­ing and other times I make a re­moulade with lemon. I never use a recipe for the crab cakes, but in­stead just cre­ate what in­spires me. But the re­quire­ment is al­ways a pound of fresh lump crab­meat.

Be­cause I grew up in a land­locked area, fresh crab was rare. We grew up with cakes made from canned crab that tasted like all the other in­gre­di­ents with the crab an af­ter­thought. On col­lege trips to Florida, I fell in love with cakes made with a min­i­mum of filler and loads of fresh crab. I was hooked from then on.

A bet­ter name for what I make would be crab pat­ties or crab burg­ers. They were orig­i­nally called cakes be­cause they were flat­tened. Un­like land crea­tures which hold them­selves up­right, wa­ter crea­tures only need about one­fifth as much con­nec­tive tis­sue. That lack of con­nec­tive tis­sue means the “meat” doesn’t hold to­gether as tightly when it is flaked or ground.

For this rea­son, no mat­ter what mix­ture I come up with, I form the crab cakes the day be­fore pre­par­ing. If you don’t have that much time, give the cakes at least an hour in the fridge. Then I pan fry them in a but­ter oil mix­ture for 4 to 5 min­utes on each side.

Lump crab­meat is some­times la­beled back­fin. It is the large whole lumps of meat from the body of the crab and is usu­ally the most ex­pen­sive type. Flaked crab­meat is all the rest of the meat from the body. You can pur­chase claw meat from the claw ap­pendages or buy the claws with the shell par­tially re­moved to serve as ap­pe­tiz­ers.

Tammy Al­good of Smyrna is the au­thor of five South­ern cook­books, in­clud­ing “Sun­day Din­ner in the South.” Reach her at ttal­good@bell­ Read her blog at haute­fla­vor.word­

Tammy Al­good Guest colum­nist

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