What’s Cookin’ – Maryland Crab Cakes & Jalapeño Cream

I lived in Boston, Massachusetts, in the 1980s while I was in my 20s.  I loved New England and developed a great love for many things while I lived there – our early American history, the ocean, maniacal driving, mass transit.  And seafood.

I worked in health care in purchasing and materials management.  My first job was with a medical supply distributor, and my second job was working in a hospital – one of the smaller ones outside of the city.  I loved my job at the hospital.  It was like managing a small city, and we were like a large family.

There was a group of us that would meet for lunch in the hospital cafeteria one day each week.  Specifically to discuss that week’s episodes of Dallas and Dynasty.  Good times.

It’s probably odd that many of my early food memories revolve around cafeteria food, but this was a time when cafeteria food was made on-site using fresh, local ingredients.  My favorite meal in our hospital cafeteria was Crab Cakes.  They were served with Boston Baked Beans.  I never missed a day when these were being served.  Our cafeteria serving line was staffed by volunteers – little old ladies with white hair and pink smocks.  I am now one of those little old ladies with white hair.  Yikes.

I loved those little old ladies.  When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, they would give me extra crab cakes.  Since I was eating for two and all that.

Ever since then, I have had a love affair with crab cakes.  I have had great crab cakes in Baltimore – the home of the great American crab cake.  But, I have also had great crab cakes in many other parts of our country including the Midwestern city in which I live.

Some of the best crab cakes that I have had, locally, were served at a now-shuttered restaurant, Crazy Fish Fresh Grill.  I am fortunate to have the recipe for them which was published in 2002 in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Recently, our local grocery store decided to discontinue Phillips crab products from their inventory.  Since it was on sale for half price, I thought it was a good time to make these at home.  Let me just say that while the crab cakes are very good, the Jalapeño Cream is incredible.  In fact, I used some on a batch of Fried Green Tomatoes that I made this past weekend, and I am speechless about how good it was on them.  Yummy.

Did I ever say that I love jalapeño peppers?

I am so glad that I saved this little recipe, and I hope that you will try these someday soon.  They are so good.

Maryland Crab Cakes ingredients.

Drain the crab.  Remove any bits of shell.  Throw into a large bowl along with the finely minced bell peppers, onion, and basil.  Toss to combine.

Add the mayo, Tabasco, Old Bay Seasoning, and bread crumbs.  Combine well.

Note on the Tabasco:  These are spicy little crab cakes.  If you don’t like stuff too spicy, decrease the amount of Tabasco sauce.  Do not, under any circumstances, decrease the amount of Jalapeño Cream you drizzle on these at the end.  I’m just sayin’.

Maryland Crab Cakes ready to make into patties.

Make into 8 patties.  They will be very tender.  Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and very lightly coat with olive oil.  Sauté the crab cakes until lightly browned on both sides.  This will take about 3 to 5 minutes per side.

Note: Do not use too much olive oil as the bread crumbs in the crab cakes will soak it up and fall apart.  Trust me on this.  This is the voice of experience speaking.  Lightly coat the sauté pan.

Serve immediately with Jalapeño Cream.

Note:  The Jalapeño Cream can be made in advance and refrigerated.  I just drizzled the cool cream onto the hot crab cakes.  It was divine.

Yummy.

Jalapeño Cream ingredients.

Clean the jalapeño pepper by removing the stem, membrane, and seeds.  Finely mince the jalapeño pepper and garlic.

Gently sauté the pepper and garlic in the oil in a small sauce pan.  This will take about a minute.  Do not brown.

Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a low boil.  Stir occasionally and cook until the mixture is thickened about 15 minutes.

Purée in a blender until smooth.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

This is great over the Maryland Crab Cakes, but was also wonderful over Fried Green Tomatoes.  In fact, I think I prefer this sauce over the aioli recipe that I included with the Fried Green Tomatoes recipe.

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