Reporting Fran Lane
Ten miles off the Maryland’s Eastern Shore lies Smith Island, where a 300-year-old culture survived in isolation. Smith Island knows true Chesapeake cooking. The Smith Island layer cake is just one of their creations. For decades, Frances Kitching operated a world renowned Inn on Smith Island and served Maryland tidewater cuisine. People from all over the world made a pilgrimage to sample her Chesapeake Bay cuisine. Sylvester Stallone once flew to Smith Island with a group of his friends in a helicopter just to sample her Chesapeake Bay cooking. Many of her recipes were handed down in the oral tradition from mother to daughter for generations. I got this recipe from Mrs. Kitching’s Smith Island Cookbook by Frances Kitching and Susan Stiles Dowell, published in 1981. I’ve tried many crab cake recipes over the years, but this one truly features the pure, simple taste of the Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab. It is truly a delight. I encourage you to try this recipe. Beware─you may never try another recipe again. This is what Maryland crab cakes should be. Enjoy. Tom~
1 pound backfin crabmeat / 3 tablespoons self-rising flour or pancake mix / 4 shakes Worcestershire Sauce / 1 egg / 1 tablespoon parsley flakes / 1 tablespoon prepared mustard (I use Coleman’s) / 2 generous tablespoons mayonnaise / vegetable oil (I use Canola)
Place crabmeat in a bowl and sort through for extraneous shell. Avoid breaking the lumps. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the vegetable oil, and blend together gently with a 2-pronged fork. Heat the oil in a skillet. There should be 1 inch of oil in the skillet. When a drop of water splatters upon contact with the oil, the crab cakes can be placed in the skillet. Use an ice cream scoop to form and remove the crab cakes from the bowl. Fry a skillet full of crab cakes in the oil until golden brown on one side. Turn and fry on the other side for one minute or until golden. Remove and drain on paper towels. The same oil will cook the entire batch of crab cakes; that’s several skillets full. Yield: 8 to 10 cakes.