Saturday, March 1, 2014

Daddy Rapp's Crab Cakes...Alaska Style

Snow Crab ready to be steamed up, and one of my new
favorite Alaskan beers, Alaskan Amber
I warned you to be prepared for more posts about crab recipes, didn't I?  Consider this one the second of a series.  We'll call it the "How to Eat an Absurd Amount of Crab in About Six Months" recipe collection.  (if you're wondering why we have a ridiculous amount of crab, catch up on the rundown HERE)

I was chatting with a local fish guy, and he recommended we eat our stash of crab sooner rather than later.  Even though it's frozen, ideally you want to eat it before the 6 month mark so it still has that freshly caught quality.  I'll take that challenge.  By the time we polish it off, it'll be salmon season.  Works for me. 

So, we've continued to whittle away at our preposterous stock pile with all sorts of meals featuring crab as the main attraction.  I say "we", but this last one was all the hubby's doing. His dad's crab cake recipe is a throwback meal from his childhood that he's always raved about.

Unadulterated cab meat in
the top pic, & the crab cake
mixture in the bottom pic
There have been countless times when we've gone out to eat and he's ordered crab cakes, only to be disappointed.  And the disappointment was almost always followed by, "They weren't Daddy Rapp crab cakes, that's for sure."

So of course, I had to get more info on where this recipe he's always loved originated.  Turns out, when he lived on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with his family, they became acquainted with a woman named Mrs. Kitching, who was a native of Smith Island on the Eastern Shore.  She actually has a cook book published.  Apparently she had the goods on how to make legit crab cakes, so hubby's dad made some tweaks to the recipe and made it his own.  And a family tradition was born. 

He's right - sheer force of will!
The hubby likes to joke that crab cakes are held together by sheer force of will.  It seems that way when I'm watching him cook them up!

We ended up going with classic homemade mac and cheese along with the crab cakes.  Turned out pretty damn good.  Crab cakes and mac and cheese are kind of like bacon and eggs or chocolate and peanut butter.  Just made to go together.  And now I have Peter Brady in my head saying, "Pork Chaaawps and applesauce!"  There I go dating myself, again.  Anyway, there's something about the combination of crispy crab cakes and creamy mac and cheese - it's the perfect pairing.

While the hubby was mixing together the ingredients, he commented on how the smell of the Worcestershire and Old Bay takes him back.  Isn't it funny how powerfully linked our sense of smell is to memory?  One little hint of a distinct scent, and it can immediately trigger nostalgia.

I feel the same way about my mom's clam sauce recipe.  Whenever I make it and smell that familiar combination of briny clams, garlic, & tomato, I'm immediately taken back to bursting into the house after school on those dark NY winter days.  Once I got a whiff of that sauce simmering, I couldn't wait to pile my plate with spaghetti and clam sauce and dig in.  It's such a strong association.

That and lilacs.  We had a huge lilac bush in the backyard that was so full & fragrant in the springtime.  My mom would cut fresh stalks from the bush and arrange them in a vase on the kitchen table all the time.  The scent of lilacs equals 12 Abbey Street for me.

Here's our final plated crab cakes and mac and cheese.  Not too shabby:

I think the Snow Crab worked well as a substitute for the traditional blue crab that would normally be used.  I'm predicting this is only the first foray into Daddy Rapp's crab cakes, Alaska style!  Sounds like a plan to me.

Ta-ta for now.

Macaroni and Cheese time.  By the way, I highly recommend marrying a cook!

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