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Maryland crab cakes as found overseas

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Roland Parker Jan 31, 2014 11:19 AM

I'm a former Baltimorean now living in the United Arab Emirates. Today we were at a restaurant in a marina outside Abu Dhabi that featured:

Maryland Crab Cakes served with a corn salsa and a tomato-horseradish remoulade and served with a dollop of pommery mustard.

No crackers in sight. I still had to laugh. The restaurant in question was called "Stars and Stripes" and is apparently a US themed restaurant.

Ok, the tomato-horseradish remoulade is probably just fancy speak for cocktail sauce. But has anyone else encountered bizarre interpretations for what constitutes "Maryland" crab cakes?

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  1. monavano RE: Roland Parker Jan 31, 2014 11:25 AM

    What do you mean about the crackers?

    7 Replies
    1. re: monavano
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      Roland Parker RE: monavano Feb 2, 2014 03:56 AM

      In my neck of the woods (Baltimore and environs) crab cakes were served with crackers. Particularly premium saltine crackers. No condiments. No lemon slices. No marina sauces.

      1. re: Roland Parker
        Gastronomos RE: Roland Parker Feb 2, 2014 04:11 AM

        could I ask for a slice of lemon?

        1. re: Roland Parker
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          Virginian RE: Roland Parker Feb 2, 2014 11:21 AM

          Do you mean crushed crackers incorporated into the crab cakes ( ala Faidleys ), or served alongside ( never seen it ) ?

          1. re: Virginian
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            fishymd RE: Virginian Feb 2, 2014 11:41 AM

            traditionally in Baltimore they were served w/ slice of lemon ON one or more crackers

            1. re: fishymd
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              Vidute RE: fishymd Feb 2, 2014 08:00 PM

              i've never seen a crabcake on crackers topped with a lemon. it's always been mustard.

          2. re: Roland Parker
            monavano RE: Roland Parker Feb 3, 2014 02:55 PM

            Thanks for clarifying. I didn't know if you meant cracker in the crab cake or with the crab cake.
            I make mine with saltines.
            I love lemon and all sorts of sauces. I tend to use just lemon when I buy fresh jumbo lump, to keep it as pure as possible.
            I can't wait until crab season now!

            1. re: monavano
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              Vidute RE: monavano Feb 3, 2014 05:57 PM

              md crab season opens april 1, weather allowing. :) but with the cold winter we've been having, i'm guessing the crabs probably won't be active until mid-may or later.

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          fishymd RE: Roland Parker Jan 31, 2014 01:31 PM

          This is a typical way to serve them even here in the US. I used to live in Memphis TN and a number of the restaurants served them with corn salsa and remoulade. I thin that this goes back to the culinary schools .

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            Querencia RE: Roland Parker Feb 2, 2014 11:50 AM

            Don't know, but being from the Chesapeake you will appreciate this. At a fancy Chicago supermarket I picked up a tin of crabmeat with the brand name Tilghman's. Sounded promising. (To others: Tilghman's Island is a commercial shellfishing star of a place in the Chesapeake Bay.) Then I turned over the can. On the bottom: Product of Indonesia.

            Re crackers: When I lived in Argentina as a girl we would have killed for a plain old US saltine soda cracker. Once when a US Navy ship made a good-will visit to Buenos Aires and some kids from the American school took a tour of the ship, we begged crackers from the cook. Also, for Monavano, "crab on a cracker" in Baltimore means you eat a fried crabcake on a couple of saltines, and not on a fancy plate with what Roland Parker found in the UAR, Chef's Delight. Ah Roland. I wonder if Faidley's is still in business at Lexington Market.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Querencia
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              jfish RE: Querencia Feb 2, 2014 12:55 PM

              Faidley's is still in business and making crab crakes.

              1. re: jfish
                monavano RE: jfish Feb 3, 2014 02:56 PM

                I've never had their crab cakes, but I use their recipe as my guide.

            2. z
              zenim RE: Roland Parker Feb 3, 2014 02:52 PM

              In our foreign travelers we have seen Maryland Crab Cake on the menus. We have learned that it is best to forego until we return to Maryland. When asked we have been told "Yes they are made of jumbo lump crab." only to be disappointed when our back fin crab cake appears. We like a sprinkle of Old Bay also, but we love Old Bay on everything.

              1. sunshine842 RE: Roland Parker Feb 3, 2014 06:06 PM

                hell, you can find a bizarre interpretation of "Maryland crab cake" right here in the US.

                I've been served some sort of vegetable fritter over which they had apparently waved a dead crab, thus qualifying them to call it a crab cake.

                To me, a crab cake is crab meat with barely enough stuff to keep it from falling apart....

                1 Reply
                1. re: sunshine842
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                  muzzleofbees RE: sunshine842 Feb 5, 2014 06:39 PM

                  Testify. I have had way more pathetic attempts at crab cakes outside of the Chesapeake region than good ones. Recently I had one in West Virginia at a "fine dining" restaurant that had sweet red pepper and corn in it. Either the Chef was hiding something or didnt know what they were doing.

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                  Elder Berry RE: Roland Parker Feb 5, 2014 09:08 PM

                  Way way back in my mis-spent youth there used to be a roadhouse on Marlboro Pike in Forestville MD called the Shady Oak. Bar in the front, food in the back, and yes there was an oak tree out in the parking lot. My recollection is that there was one day a week in summer when they had all you can eat (that tells you how long ago this was) crabs or classic Maryland lump crabcakes. The crab was so fresh, it had come from the bay that morning. Everything was served family style and it came with corn, coleslaw, and hush puppies. The adults drank pitchers of beer and everyone left happy.

                  Hard to match that memory. Only two other crab experiences still linger in mind. One was the Crab Norfolk at the old Flagship in DC (sinfully rich), and the other was the crab feasts we used to do as teenagers at the Chesapeake beaches, cooking the crabs in an aluminum trash can full of seaweed over a fire. Can't get crabs that fat and heavy any more.

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