Crab cakes are a Maryland staple. Flying Dog Dead Rise crab cakes with Old Bay aioli, well they are an amped up, amazing version of the classic!
When it comes to regional food favorites, there are certain things you just don’t do. You don’t fiddle with the Philadelphia cheesesteak and still call it a Philadelphia cheesesteak. You don’t change up the clam chowder so much that it appears to be nothing like its original iteration. And you don’t screw with the Maryland crab cake. You just don’t. It’s ok to play with it a little, try some new things. But you keep that crab cake, in essence, close to the original or you’ll have a riot on your hands.
I’ve only been living in Maryland for a few years. I’m not a native and even though I’ve had my fair share of crab, crab cakes, crab soups and crab dips, I still don’t consider myself any type of expert. I tasted one crab cake while at the Taste of Cambridge that was so out of this world, I knew I needed to eat it again. It was simple. The crab cake itself has little to no filler, an important thing to recognize for a truly delicious cake. The crab NEEDS to be the star here. Toss in a bunch of unnecessary fillers and you are saying one thing to your eating audience: my crab sucks. This cake was so crab-filled, I almost couldn’t take it. And underneath, it had just a simple swipe of a creamy, delicious sauce.
Now, I almost opened my mouth to the other judges and said “Hey there, this mustard is awesome!” And I’m glad I didn’t, lest I prove in front of people that I have no culinary prowess. Mustard, it was not. This wasn’t mustard. It was aioli. It had a distinctly creamy, mustardy flavor but it was not just straight up yellow mustard or anything (I’m a novice, clearly, when it comes to sauces and spreads). So I went to it in the kitchen and played around a little.
The first thing I did was add a bit of Flying Dog’s Dead Rise to the crab cake mixture. Dead Rise is a new release that, I could be wrong but, I’m sure everyone is aware. It’s a golden ale that’s got a kick of Old Bay seasoning to it. Currently, it’s not available widely as there was such a high demand for it, producers couldn’t keep up. And with good reason. Old Bay beer, people. I mixed a few tablespoons into my crab cake and then got to pan-frying. The beer adds just a depth, a new flavor. It doesn’t change the cake, just enhances it.
Then there is the aioli. Woah, how did I not know about aioli? This one here is a bit of mayo, some honey and mustard and a little salt. Then, for good measure, a tablespoon or so more of the Dead Rise because why the hell not? It gives a distinct spice to the sauce without overpowering it. That’s the thing to keep in mind when cooking with beer. You don’t want to overpower your food. The beer should enhance your flavors, not trample over them. This recipe is just the ticket, allowing for more flavor without changing the original and overpowering it. I think Maryland might just let me stay.
Recipe slightly adapted from Country Cleaver
- For crab cake:
- 8 ounces lump crab meat
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
- 2 Tbsp. green onion, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. Dead Rise beer (or an amber ale if you don't have access to Dead Rise)
- 1 Tbsp. melted butter
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- For aioli:
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 1 Tbsp. stone ground mustard
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1 Tbsp. Dead Rise beer (or 1 Tbsp. amber ale and 1/2 tsp. Old Bay)
- In a large bowl, combine crab meat, egg, Old Bay seasoning, green onion, beer, melted butter and breadcrumbs. Stir well until completely combined, It should be a coherent mass.
- Use a 1/3 cup measure and scoop out the filling, forming them into patties.
- Heat a skillet over medium high and coat the bottom in vegetable oil. Once hot, place in the crab cakes.
- Sear until golden brown on one side, then flip and repeat with the other side until golden brown.
- Repeat until you have no more crab cakes.
- To make aioli: combine mustard, mayo, honey and beer until well mixed.
- Serve each crab cake with a swipe of aioli.