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There are a few absolute truths in life: summer gets hot, beer=good, people are insane and everybody loves crab cakes.
Who doesn’t like a hot, crispy, golden brown and delicious crab cake? They are goddamn marvels of nature. Available everywhere and no two recipes alike. One of those sneaky good foods that if they are served buffet style a person can gorge themselves to agony consuming them. Just. Fucking. Delicious.
Flashback story time!
During a stint in the mid ’80’s I lived smack dab on the Jersey Shore “Down the Shore” as the locals say, in Belmar New Jersey. Interesting town, during the offseason the population is under 6,000 year round folks but between Memorial Day and Labor Day the town’s population will swell into the tens of thousands. Easily. During the summertime the folks from “up in The City”, meaning New York and Northern Jersey, bring their pasty ass complexions and their godawful attitudes and ugly fucking kids down to the Shore and just basically take over. It’s practically a fucking invasion.
Honestly though? It is one serious 3 month motherfucker of a party. The bars are packed, the boardwalks are complete insanity and all of the tourists eat boardwalk food. Pizza, hot dogs, freshly fried donuts, raw clams and oysters, french fries, taffy. You know? Health food!
When I lived there I was a 4 block walk from the boardwalk. I would alternate taking my 3 godsons to the beach to “visit the arcade and get some exercise.” This is where my internet handle of “yeah right” came from. Actually I found that if you had a cute little kid with you, and all 3 of my godsons were cute little kids, you could attract some bikini clad ladies who would say “Oh he’s sooo cute!” I told my godsons to keep the bikini thing a secret but I did always follow through and take them to the arcades. The youngest of the godsons gave up the secret one day when his mom asked where we were going, he said in his best 3 year old voice “Go to beach. See nay-nays.”
Not all of the boardwalk food was terrible though, the seafood in Jersey is fresh and right out of the ocean. The clams, oysters and crab are especially delicious. As you drive over some of the bridges around the shore, you will occasionally see one of these signs:
These signs never failed to just crack me the fuck up. Coming from California my only previous crab experience involved a doctor visit, a disposable razor and a shot of penicillin but that’s a story for another time.
The fresh crab on the Shore is outstanding. I’m sure you residents of other Eastern Seaboard areas, including our large DC Metro and Baltimore contingent will call this blasphemy, but having never visited either location this is based off of my experience.
I was in my early-mid 20’s when I lived here and was therefore a food wimp when it came to trying new foods. Took me years to overcome that shit but I finally did. This meant that I never sampled any of the raw foods from the many, many, “raw” bars that are up and down the boardwalk. I would get my oysters char-grilled, my clams fried (i still fucking adore fried clam strips, best I’ve ever had was from a funky little shack in Cooperstown N.Y. called the Yum Yum Shack) and I would get my crab delivered in crab cake form. Then again I’m pretty sure you don’t eat raw crab except maybe in Hawaii where they make “Poke” out of any damn thing. Crab cakes and an order of fries with a dipping or remoulade sauce and a couple 5-6 cold fuckin’ beers? “The fuck outta here!” as the locals say. I also do a righteous Jersey accent to this day, it’s especially handy when driving. “The fuck you doin? Fuckin’ piece of fuckin’ shit!”
Before we get started you may have noticed in the featured image some fries that are dusted in some sort of herb, seasoning mix with a thick cheese-type sauce. This was my take on a Philly goddamn institution known as “Chickie’s and Pete’s Crab Fries!” They may have trademarked that name so please don’t sue us guys! I don’t want to loose my DFO stock options. If you’ve been to Philly, especially at any of the arenas or stadiums for a game you probably encountered this curious but very tasty concoction. I found them at Citizen’s Bank Park where I went for a Phillies game a few years back. The line for the fries was insane, easily 75 people long and curiosity took hold. Not to spoil their super secret recipe but it’s basically some crinkly cut fries with some Old Bay Seasoning and a white American cheese dipping sauce. Really simple and really good.
Not familiar with Old Bay? Then you’ve probably never had seafood on the East Coast because they cover EVERYTHING with this stuff.
I hosted a SoCal DFO get together a week or 2 back and I asked some of the other DFO folks if they had a chance to try out any of my Sunday Gravy recipes and more than one said they hadn’t because my recipes were “intimidating.” I was part surprised and, oddly a little flattered by this. I know I’ve been throwing some 2 day recipes out there but I thought they were reasonably easy-ish to make.
Well I’m fixing that shit today! This is really fucking easy to do. You beginning cooks need to give this a whirl and tinker with the ingredients and make it your own because today we are making…
Crab Cakes and “Crabby” Fries!
See what I did there Mr. DFO attorney?
The basics for crab cakes are crab (no shit), some bread crumbs, some mayo an egg or two and seasonings. That’s it! Make it your own by adding in a little finely diced onion, maybe a little roasted red pepper, experiment with your herbs (tarragon? dill? chives? why not?) and that’s all you gottta motherfucking do. Here’s my version.
1 pound of crab meat (use what you can find. I looked for fresh but settled for canned. This is easy remember?)
2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
Fresh lemon juice. Juice from about half of a lemon will work.
4-5 green onions minced.
1 small jalapeno minced (mine was from my own garden. Nice!)
1 teaspoon of minced dried tarragon.
1 teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon of coarse mustard. Fuck it, use what you got. I used coarse stone ground mustard
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
Some grinds of black pepper.
3/4 sleeve of Ritz crackers crushed
Panko bread crumbs for coating.
Butter and oil for cooking.
Thrown everything but the panko, butter and oil into a goddamn bowl.
Now mix with your hands.
See there? Easy!
I actually made these over the 4th of July weekend and the day of the making was officially declared “margarita day.” You’re going to see a lot of margaritas in the photos. Want a quick and easy and tasty margarita recipe? Get a can of frozen limeade dump it into a pitcher, using the empty can fill up 3/4 of the way with tequila, top the can off with Triple Sec, mix and serve on the rocks. If you want a slushy margarita throw some ice in a blender add this mix and pulse away.
Jesus we got hammered that day.
Back to the crab cakes.
Get your butter and oil going in a skillet on the stove top over medium heat. Grab a scoop of the crab cake mix, form into a patty and coat with the panko bread crumbs. Drop it into the skillet. Don’t overcrowd your skillet. I was able to get about 3 at a time going.
Cook for about 5-6 minutes, then flip over and cook for about 4-5 minutes more. You want them to be…
“Golden brown and delicious!”
Very good class.
If you’re making these in batches, preheat your oven to about 225 and place these on a baking tray in the oven to keep warm until they are all cooked.
There you fuckin’ go! Crab cakes!
Serve these with your choice of dipping sauce or serve over an easy remoulade.
Remoulade! Shit, I was supposed to keep this easy. Get a 1/2 cup of mayo, add in equal parts of Louisiana hot sauce (Red Rooster is my bitch), mustard, pickle relish, lemon juice, horseradish and a little sprinkle of cayenne. Remou-fucking-lade. Look at the banner image again for a serving suggestion. Hell, some regular old tartar sauce works here too.
Yeah right’s Super Special Crabby Fries that are in no way to be confused with those Philly guys!
Bag of crinkle cut fries.
Old Bay to season.
Cheese sauce for dipping, recipe to follow.
Cook the fries to desired doneness. Season with Old Bay. Serve with the cheese sauce.
White Cheese Sauce.
1/2 pound of cubed white American cheese. It’s supposed to be white cheese but if you’ve got a big slab of yellow American go right the fuck ahead.
5-6 tablespoons of milk. Shit, use what you pour over your cereal, even 1% will work.
1/4 cup of water. Add more or less for your desired thickness.
Place ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and nuke the motherfucker for about a minute. Stir, then nuke for a minute more. Stir and one more go for about 30 seconds. Mine was done in about 2 1/2 microwave minutes. Serve with the fries. Serve the whole thing with the crab cakes. Just like the banner image shows.
I got all super fancy and sprinkled some minced parsley over everything.
Notice the fries standing on their own in the cheese sauce? That’s about the consistency of the sauce that you are looking for.
“Look at that fuckin’ shit over here? You fuckin’ kiddin’ me or what?”
That’s some serious boardwalk fare right there. True summer food at it’s least healthiest. Serve with some icy cold beers, hopefully right out of the ice chest and get busy shoveling. It’s perfectly fine to make a disgusting pig out of yourself with this. Remember we’re paying homage to the Jersey Shore here. The crab cakes and fries are hot and crispy, elevated by the Old Bay and the remoulade and made entirely profane by the addition of the cheese sauce.
Jesus, what have I done to you poor folks?
This can no way be misconstrued as anything except an easy damn recipe.
Customize it. Make it your own. If you have access to real fresh crab it’s going to be even better.
You know if you wanted to use fresh live crab here’s what you need to do…
Ah, I’m just fuckin’ with yez over here.
Keep this easy.
Have a great summer everyone. Respect the sun!
But respect your beers even more.
I’m fuckin’ outtahere!