I always forget about crab. It’s a shame, really, considering how delicious and easy it is to work with. My market keeps it all tucked away in some stray corner of the seafood cooler case, escaping my radar. Plus when you’re married to someone who won’t eat anything that grew up in water, occasions are few and far between to crack them claws open.
Wanting to gussy up my offerings for a 4th of July BBQ recently, I went big. I went bold. I went for crab cakes — and (I’ll pat myself on the back here) I nailed it. Like most memorable things in life, bacon has the assist and — with such a clean palate of ingredients employed — the smokier the better.
While crab cakes may sound like a budget-busting endeavor for a plastic, gingham-tablecloth day in the sun, they don’t have to be. Crab comes in different grades usually labeled (in ascending order of quality) special, claw and lump. The texture of the lump meat is certainly lovely, but I like to reserve it for a simple presentation — like a crab salad, for instance — where its pricey texture can really shine. In this case, since we’re mixing the crab with all sorts of other things and then frying it, reach for “special” grade — the flavor is the same. They won’t, however, last very long. Get your “cook’s-spoils” bites in early.