Saturday, May 29, 2010
Several years ago, we had a spate of complaints about our crab cakes. They were all along the lines that our crab cakes have no flavor, that they're tasteless. After several years of no complaints, we've had another recent rash of similar complaints.
Our crab cakes are made from the best blue crab we can buy, mayonnaise, celery, parsley, panko, salt, and white pepper. That's it. Over the years, I've tried every binder known to man for holding crab cakes together (béchamel, fish mousse, scallop mousse, egg whites, sour cream, etc.) and the best binder hands down is a mayonnaise made with a neutral oil.
Crab meat has a very delicate flavor that is easily overpowered by other flavors. This is why I especially despise crab cakes containing any form of assertive bell pepper or, God forbid, Old Bay seasoning, which reeks of celery seed. Some people actually like to taste bell pepper or celery seed rather than the $18 per pound crab. If that's your preference, fine; it's not mine though.
The complaints come from one of two kinds of people. The first is someone who actually prefers to taste bell pepper and celery seed to crab. I don't understand their point of view, but they're entitled to it. I just wish they'd allow that my crab cakes are well made, just not to their taste.
The second complainant is one who does not perceive the value of expensive fresh blue crab bound with just as few additives as are necessary to hold the crab meat in a cake. These are the ones who tell me that the frozen crab cakes (that are short on crab and long on filler) at Costco are as good or better than mine. I wish these people, rather than pick on my crab cakes, would just say that mine are too expensive for them. That's really what their gripe is, so why not just say it?
In any case, the complaints are few and far between and for each, we have served thousands of other customers who have loved the crab cakes. And I'm not changing my recipe regardless of what anyone says.