Coast Cooking

Crab cakes are a great use for crab meat

A classic crab cake is at the top of my seafood list.
A classic crab cake is at the top of my seafood list. Special to the Sun Herald

Monday I blogged about a crab meat po-boy that to old-school Biloxians will always be known as a Vancleave special, and it is near and dear to everyone with Point Cadet connections.

The heart of that po-boy is a crab cake, and few seafood dishes have such general appeal as this Southern classic.

Our friends In the Chesapeake Bay area will be quick to tell us that their blue crab is superior to ours, but the fact remains that when their crab is out of season, guess where they get their crab? Don’t tell them, OK?

A crab cake is best when the lovely crab meat you use is left lonely but not forlorn. My crab cakes often fall apart, and I call them falling apart crab cakes with some pride, because they have very little filler and binder. Do you want to serve a breadcrumb cake? No. It is about the crab, right?

Here’s what you should do: finely dice a little onion, make a good homemade mayonnaise, add a little garlic, if you like, and dice some fresh basil or cilantro but not much. Now add a minimum of bread crumbs, or fresh white bread soaked in milk or a slightly beaten egg. Pick one, just one, but don’t use all. Now gently toss with the crab meat so you don’t break up the lumps you paid so dearly for. Season with just a hint of lemon juice and serve neat.