Saturday night we hosted a Crabcake Throwdown. This past month, on another blog that I will not name, people began discussing which restaurants in town made the best crabcakes. This is very important here because Maryland is the home of the blue crab and the finest crabcakes in the world. I grew up elsewhere in the world and always hated crabcakes. They were these nasty, fishy tasting, blocks of unknown breading and fillers. They were truly disgusting. So when I moved to Maryland, I had no interest in trying their crabcakes. Thankfully, M had tasted the real deal and told me they were nothing like what I grew up eating. She was right. A true Maryland crabcake is mostly crab and very little filling, maybe a little bread, mayo, worchestershire sauce, butter and don't forget the Old Bay seasoning. The crabcakes should barely hold together because they're so full of crab. The first thing you should taste is the crab, then the other flavors for support. This is what a crab cake was meant to be. So, anyway, back to the other blog. The talk quickly moved from which restaurants had the best crabcakes to which bloggers made the best crabcakes. M is all into that Bobby Flay show where he does "throwdowns" with the best cooks of certain foods. So M challenged everyone to a crabcake throwdown. They foolishly took up her challenge.
Pretty soon it moved beyond the blog and we had neighbors, friends, local politicians, former restaurant owners and everybody's uncle wanting to either cook or taste the competition. M, being brilliant as she is, decided to make this count for more than just egos and eating good food. Each judge would pay $10 for the privilege of judging the crabcakes and any funds raised would be donated to Habitat for Humanity. We had a lady donate two amazingly large cheesecakes for a silent auction to up the ante of funds raised for Habitat so this is a picture of her Key Lime cheesecake, and
this is a picture of her Mango Citrus cheesecake. I got out bid so I didn't get to taste either. M says we're going to order one of her pumpkin cheesecakes for Thanksgiving, so I'll let you know how tasty they are then. Oh and we raised $400 for Habitat for Humanity.
So we had seven cooks competing for the "Best of Show" title, this particular submission was from a former restaurant owner and they were amazingly good, ranking very close to M's in overall crab content. He also provided dipping saunces for them. I didn't try the sauces, I believe a crabcake should be able to stand on it's own.
One cook was determined to "melt everyone's faces" and cause some serious personal injury with his spicy crabcakes. The first bite I had was spicy, but not too bad. My second taste nearly choked me as the heat poured down my throat. It continued with a long, slow burn afterward. This particular submission "won" last place as "Worst Crabcake Ever."
Crabcakes were judged on presentation, originality, traditional quality, and overall tastiness to name just a few of the categories. We had some crabcakes that were stuffed with veggies and spices,
others were more traditional in their fillers and presentation
and this particular submission was topped with a mango salsa that was amazing!
As you can see, we had a table full of crabcakes and other tasty food to occupy our time, but in the end, "there can be only one" best of show. Now who do you think won the Golden Mallet for Best Crabcakes?
M of course, the best cook I know. Here are her beauties in all their glory as they are pulled from the oven. Her secret? First and foremost, they should be 90% crab and 10% filler and right at the end, you drizzle Old Bay infused butter over the top. MAN!!! I can't begin to tell you how tasty these cakes are. And what's coming up next week??? The 5th or 6th Annual Baconfest, I've lost count. We're expecting gorgeous weather for the event and a cool enough evening so that the skeeters won't bother us and we can cozy up to the bonfire. I'm planning on making a potato skin pie filled with twice baked potatoes with a latticed top to the pie made out of strips of crispy bacon. Mmmmm.