Pinch Me: Classic Maryland Crab Cakes

Crab cakes

To bring home a taste of Maryland, we turned to world famous Chef Mark Salter of the Robert Morris Inn on picturesque Chesapeake Bay. Photo: Joff Lee/Getty Images

If certain dishes are intrinsically associated with a place – poutine in Quebec, barbecue in Texas, jambalaya in New Orleans – then perhaps Maryland is best known for crab cakes.

To bring home a taste of Maryland, we turned to world-famous Chef Mark Salter of the historic Robert Morris Inn on Chesapeake Bay, where the river meets the sea, forming one of the country’s largest estuaries, home to countless fish and wildlife, including of course, its famous blue crab.

While cooking along with one of the best is something tourists can typically experience while visiting the area, Zoomer recently participated in a virtual cooking class with British-born Chef Salter, and so we can confidently say that the recipe, while simple to make, produced perfectly light and delicious crab cakes. (And unlike a few of my previous attempts at Maryland’s signature dish, they didn’t fall apart!)

So visit the coast through your taste buds with this recipe for crab cakes, along with a side dish and sauces to accompany them if you want to take your meal to the next level.


Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with Batons of Zucchini and Squash, Tomato Fondue and Meyer Lemon Butter Sauce

Photo: Robert Morris Inn

Maryland Crab Cakes


1/3 cup heavy-duty mayonnaise

2-½ tsp Dijon mustard

1-1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning

1 tbsp chopped Italian parsley

½ tsp chopped tarragon

1 tsp lemon juice

Zest from half a lemon

1 egg

1 lb jumbo lump crab meat

½ cup  panko bread crumbs, divided

Olive oil


1. Mix together mayonnaise, mustard, Old Bay Seasoning, parsley, tarragon, parsley, lemon juice, lemon zest and egg.

2. Fold in crab meat and half of the panic;  let rest for 1 hour before shaping into four cakes. Dip shaped crab cakes in remaining panko on both sides.

4. Sauté in olive oil and finish in a 350 F oven for 7 to 10 minutes.

Serves 4.

Zucchini and Squash


2 zucchini

2 yellow squash

2 shallots

1 clove garlic

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp chopped French tarragon


1. Cut zucchini and squash into 3-inch long sticks

2. Chop shallot and garlic into fine dice.

3. Sauté zucchini and squash in olive oil. Add shallot, garlic and tarragon.

Lemon Butter Sauce


1 cup white wine

1 shallot, peeled and sliced

1 Meyer lemon, zested and sliced

1 sprig fresh thyme

1 small bay leaf

½ tsp black peppercorns

¼ cup heavy cream

2 sticks unsalted butter

Salt and pepper to taste


1. In saucepan, combine wine, shallot, lemon slices, thyme bayleaf and peppercorns; bring to a boil and reduce until 2 tbsp remain.

2. Add cream and cook until cream begins to thicken, approximately two minutes.

3. Whisk in butter, strain and add grated zest and salt and pepper to taste.

Tomato Fondue


Half an onion, diced

1 clove garlic, chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large vine-ripened tomato, seeded and chopped

Bouquet Garni (fresh thyme sprig, 1 small bay leaf, 1 tsp black peppercorns tied in muslin)

Pinch granulated sugar

Salt and pepper



1. In skillet, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil.

2. Add tomatoes and bouquet garni. Season with a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper. Cook until soft. Remove the bouquet garni.

To serve: Toss zucchini and squash with lemon butter sauceSpoon onto 4 plates. Top with crab cake with spoonful of tomato fondue and garnish with arugula.

Chef’s note: You may also serve with baby potatoes.

Recipes courtesy of Chef Mark Salter, The Robert Morris Inn in Oxford, Maryland

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A version of this story was published on Oct. 11, 2020