22 February 2009

Iron(ic) Chef Point Breeze

It all started with a harmless little tweet back in December, and my inability to let such things slide. What I didn't reveal at the time is that I couldn't remember the last time I made a crab cake, or even if I had ever made them. (I had. Once.) I like eating them, though. If anyone was silly enough to call my bluff, the worst thing that would happen was I'd get to eat crab cakes. How bad could that be?

Of course, my bluff was called. Calendars were consulted, judges assembled, and a host of "oh shit, what the hell was I thinking" moments later, I found myself making crab cakes for a bunch of great people I barely know, and just a couple I know well, including CD. Huge thanks to my long suffering husband. He not only ate crab cakes four times in eight days once you add the very nice leftovers we just consumed for dinner, but deftly handled kid duty while I got to play in the kitchen.

Knowing I was at a serious disadvantage in the experience department, I consulted the only person I know from Baltimore who sent me a few recipes, including one from an Annapolis crab house. Though I am entirely unable to follow a recipe as it is (unless I'm baking -- that's chemistry and keep the improv to a minimum), this seemed like a really good place to start. Here's what I did that isn't in the recipe:
  • spice - In addition to the white pepper and Old Bay, I added 1 tsp of Penzey's Chesapeake Bay seasoning, 1 tsp of Penzey's Chili 9000, and a little dried parsley
  • mayo - I used Trader Joe's low fat version
  • bread/cracker crumbs - I used panko instead of traditional bread crumbs or crackers
And here's what I'll do differently next time:
  • Fresh parsley
  • Canola oil and butter for frying (something I spotted Uncle Crappy doing)
  • Some of Uncle Crappy's mustard stuff on the side. (oh.my.)
You can see photos and read Uncle Crappy's account over here. As he says, our styles were very different and tough to compare, but the esteemed team of judges leaned in Uncle Crappy's general direction. As I said earlier, there was no way I could lose. Tasty crab cakes were had by all. (Not to mention the other FINE contributions to the feast. Thanks guys!) 

I will pay up with a growler of East End Brewing's finest at a time of Uncle Crappy's choosing. And I hope we can schedule a rematch when the weather is better. Tuna steaks, anyone? Chili, perhaps? You name it. I'll try to make it.


Anonymous said...

I would pit my veggie chili against any meat based stuff. I don't make it super spicy though. It's just good and basic!


Uncle Crappy said...

That was a great night, and I would say that even if I had lost. Thanks again to you and CD.

And by the way -- I think fresh parsley would be an excellent addition. I started doing that with my meatballs a few batches ago, and it makes a huge difference.

Allison Says said...

Glad it was so great! I'm sure everyone there really was a winner!

If you want another judge or a contestant, I'm all over it!

Fresh parsley is great in crab cakes. I use jalape├▒o in mine for the spice, as well as some Italian bread crumbs. I also bake them, instead if fry most for the time. But I've met very few crab cakes I didn't like!

Anonymous said...

I wiiiiiiish my husband liked seafood. He loves shrimp, and has tried crab cakes, but it's a crap shoot to make them for dinner. I'm tasting crab cakes now! Nom nom nom!