Our next stop on the 50 states, 50 recipes tour is;
State capital: Annapolis
Largest City: Baltimore
Admission to the Union: April 28, 1788- seventh state to ratify the constitution
Maryland has a large food-production sector. A large component of this is commercial fishing, centered in Chesapeake Bay, but also including activity off the short Atlantic seacoast. The largest catches by species are the blue crab, oysters, striped bass, and menhaden. The Bay also has uncounted millions of overwintering waterfowl in its many wildlife refuges. While not, strictly speaking, a commercial food resource, the waterfowl support a tourism sector of sportsmen.
Agriculture is an important part of the state’s economy. Maryland has large areas of fertile agricultural land in its coastal and Piedmont zones, although this land use is being encroached upon by urbanization. Agriculture is oriented to dairying (especially in foothill and piedmont areas) for nearby large city milks heads plus specialty perishable horticulture crops, such as cucumbers, sweet corn, watermelon, tomatoes, muskmelons, squash, and peas. (Source:USDA Crop Profiles). In addition, the southern counties of the western shoreline of Chesapeake Bay are warm enough to support a tobacco cash crop zone, which has existed since early Colonial times but declined greatly after a state government buyout in the 1990s. There is also a large automated chicken-farming sector in the state’s southeastern part; Salisbury is home to Perdue Farms. Maryland’s food-processing plants are the most significant type of manufacturing by value in the state. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maryland )
Here are some great sites about tourism in Maryland;
There is good news and bad news with this recipe. The good news is that SGM Martha and I lived in Maryland for several years. So I know exactly what dish Maryland is best known for which made research really easy for me! We arrived a month before 9/11 and ended up moving during the worst snow storm they’d seen in 50 years. We experienced our first hurricane force storm while living on Chesapeake Bay inside Aberdeen Proving Grounds, as well as the fear of the DC Beltway Sniper, just after the attacks on 9/11. What surprised me most was aside from all of these tragedies, was the people of Maryland were friendly and generous to a fault. Another thing I learned was they take this dish very seriously- you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a restaurant that served some version of it. The bad news about this recipe is that I never had the dish Maryland is best known for- Blue Crab crab cakes! Crab, any kind of crab, is one of those dishes I have never acquired a taste for, although I have tried it and have to say if I were forced to eat crab, it would be Maryland’s Blue Crab. It’s got a sweetness to it that surpasses all other crab, and Marylanders take pride in that!
Now this recipe comes to us from an award winning cook out of Annapolis, and had I followed the recipe exactly, would have been delicious. However, I did not have access to Blue Crab and some of the changes I made left this with more salty of a taste than I expected. Had I used the sweeter Blue Crab, used Mayo in place of Italian Salad Dressing, and rolled it in maybe Club Crackers rather than Italian Bread Crumbs… even I would have liked these crab cakes! So do as I say, not as I do and I think you too will enjoy this recipe!
Best Backfin Crab Cakes
By Char Ann Smith
- 2 pounds jumbo lump crab meat
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons parsley flakes
- 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
- 2 teaspoons wet mustard
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 4 tablespoons salad dressing
- Cracker crumbs
Beat eggs. Add parsley flakes, Old Bay seasoning, mustards, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Combine with crab meat and salad dressing. Shape into balls and roll in cracker crumbs. Fry briefly in oil or bake in a 375-degree oven for 20 minutes.
Note: This recipe placed second in the Coast Day 1997 Crab Cake Cookoff. ( http://www.hometownannapolis.com/food5_crabcake.html#best )
My first mistake as I said was not using Maryland Blue Crab for the recipe… the only crab I could find was Bumble Bee canned crab meat, which is a poor substitute. The second mistake I made was using Italian Salad Dressing rather than what should have been Miracle Whip or perhaps just plain Mayo. And last but not least, if I wasn’t using Blue Crab I should have perhaps used Club Crackers rather than the Italian Bread Crumbs I chose over them. As one of my readers said- “My husband says, don’t worry it’ll taste better next time you make it.”
The only things I didn’t have on hand were Worcestershire sauce and crab meat. And I’m grateful ya’ll can’t hear me try to say Worcestershire… I truly believe it’s a Southern phenomenon that none of us can pronounce that word without difficulty! Old Bay seasoning is found in your spice aisle or with your seafood. There is no good substitute for it, so be sure you use it!
Nothing too strenuous about making crab cakes, but they are messy! I did fry them in a pan with some olive oil, which took no time at all. This recipe doesn’t require it, but if you can refrigerate it for about an hour, it will make forming the patties that much easier. As I said- do as I say, not as I do!
Review: scale of 1-5 stars; the more stars the better
Ease of preparation: ***** very easy, so easy you’ll want to make it again and again
Cost of ingredients: *** crab meat of any quality is expensive and as I say, you’ll pay for better quality, had I access to Blue Crab it would have turned out so much better
Taste: *** My version was very salty- but if ya’ll correct my mistakes it will better for sure!
Nutrition: ***** I wouldn’t go so far as to call it fat free, but certainly low in fat and good source of Omegas and such
Bless their hearts, the boys at the local Fire Department didn’t complain at all, in fact most of them really enjoyed these, aside from being really salty! With a few modifications and using the right ingredients I’d say this could be just as good as any you’d find in Maryland! So until next week when we head to Virginia may all your journeys be safe and your eats be good!