So. I’ve gone on and on about curacha. I am quite certain that you do not want to hear more of the same ardent ramblings on the subject. If you missed it though, please check here and here. This is truly an awesome crustacean and worth getting to know.
All that being said, allow me to tell you about another way that I used my precious curacha bounty. Crab cakes! Crab cakes are something I have had (shameful I know) only in restaurants. I have never tasted any homemade, and I have never hazarded an attempt at making them myself. Well, a surfeit of sweet curacha meat has finally presented me with the golden opportunity, so I put my hands together, got on the trusty internet, and started looking for recipes.
When I found these Traditional Maryland Crabcakes on Jen’s Use Real Butter I was sold. It seemed simple enough for a beginner like me, and (and that’s a very emphatic “and”) it includes Old Bay seasoning. Old Bay is traditionally used in seafood boils/bakes all over America (or in the places that they have seafood boils/bakes, I'm not the expert) and, as such, not a part of my growing up at all. Hence, exotic and wildly attractive to my Eastern taste buds. I wasted no time in having some bought (when my mother was in New York) and I have been admiring the very dignified looking tin sitting stodgily in my pantry ever since.
Until now. Traditional Maryland Crabcakes. Old Bay. Zamboanga curacha. A touch of smokiness. A bit of heat. Yes, yes, and yes :)
Smoky Curacha Cakes
(adapted from this awesome crab cake recipe)
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- About 2/3 of a teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Optional: Dash of cayenne pepper (if you want it spicy…we did)
- 300 grams curacha meat (or any crab meat)
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs
- 3-4 tablespoons cheese cracker crumbs for coating
- A couple of tablespoons canola oil or any vegetable oil that you use for frying
- Add the curacha/crab meat and mix well.
- Stir in the bread crumbs. If the mixture looks too wet, you can add a little more crumbs just so that it holds together. It will be a fairly moist, but workable.
- Form into patties. Coat the patties in the cracker crumbs (I use Sunflower crackers, cheese flavor).
- Heat oil in a skillet. You want the oil to evenly coat the bottom of the skillet. When the oil is hot place the patties in the pan and fry until the bottom is golden brown. Flip and brown the other side until cooked through. All in all about 8-10 minutes work. Makes 4-5 patties.
I served them here with and absolute favorite of mine, peas and pancetta, or, if my wallet protests, peas and bacon. My love for this dish is tremendous, and I will be sure to share some version of it, someday, on this blog. Today, however, is for curacha, crabcakes, and Old Bay.
I know if I say, at this point, that Old Bay and crabs go together like chocolate and hazelnut I would be 70 years late in the game. But better late than never right? I believe so! I’m starting to feel a clam bake or shrimp boil coming on! Unchartered territory, but I am bolstered by the success of these crabcakes. It is never too late to try something new, and don’t let being a newbie (or the fear of sounding like one) stop you from being as brightly enthusiastic as you wish. Cynics may sneer, but there are people (like me!) who will love you for it and invite you to all their parties! Happy weekend!