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A crab cake is a variety of fishcake that is popular in the United States. It is composed of crab meat and various other ingredients, such as bread crumbs, milk, mayonnaise, eggs, and seasonings, particularly Old Bay Seasoning. Occasionally, other ingredients are added, such as red or green peppers or sliced pimientos (and rarely, yellow onions). The cake is then sautéed, baked, grilled or, the most popular choice, broiled, and then served. Crab cakes are traditionally associated with the area surrounding the Chesapeake Bay, in particular the states of New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia and Maryland.
The two most common styles of Maryland crab cake are Boardwalk and Restaurant. Boardwalk crab cakes are typically breaded and deep-fried, and often filled with stuffing (of various sorts) and served on a hamburger bun or, most popularly, with saltine crackers. Restaurant crab cakes (aka gourmet crab cakes) are often prepared with no filler, consisting of all-lump (backfin) crab meat served on a platter or open-faced sandwich. The choices of sides are usually french fries, cole slaw, potato or macaroni salad. Baltimore restaurants serve crab cakes with a lemon wedge and saltine crackers; other restaurants serve condiments such as a remoulade, tartar sauce, mustard, cocktail sauce or ketchup. Baltimoreans usually forgo these condiments and eat plain or with a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Many restaurants give their patrons the choice of having their crab cake fried or broiled. Crab cakes vary in size, from no bigger than a small cookie to as large as a hamburger.
Crab cakes are particularly popular along the coast of the Mid-Atlantic States. They can also be commonly found in New England, the Gulf Coast, the Pacific Northwest, and the Northern California coast, where the crabbing industry thrives. While meat from any species of crab may be used, the blue crab, whose native habitat includes the Chesapeake Bay, is the traditional choice and generally considered to be the best tasting. In the Pacific Northwest and Northern California, the endemic Dungeness Crab is a popular ingredient for crab cakes, and the cakes are prepared at many well-established restaurants throughout the region.
- Stern, Jane (Jun 4, 2009). 500 Things to Eat Before It's Too Late: and the Very Best Places to Eat Them. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 81.
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- Nutritional Analysis at FoodsDatabase