I love crab cakes! My favorites come from a fishmonger in the Lexington Food Market at Baltimore Harbor, a fellow named Bill Devine, who owns Faidley’s Seafood. You don’t sit down at Faidley’s, you stand, leaning against a waist-high counter. I have no idea how many years they’ve been in business; I’ve been going there for 30 years and my father-in-law before me. Our family orders the jumbo lump, crab cakes for Christmas each year. But we don’t have to wait that long anymore. Years ago I found the recipe in Woman’s Day magazine, so when I have the yen for a really good crab cake, I can have one right here in St. Louis. What’s so special about Faidley’s crab cake recipe? For those who swear by Old Bay seasoning, it has none. Bill Devine told me he didn’t want anything to mask the flavor of the meat.
But the biggest secret is how you handle the crab. Gently, very gently. Don’t over mix; don’t pack the meat into cakes. Loosely assemble into balls and bake. I tell you all this to say that Robin cooked Faidley-style crab cakes (pictured above) for my family birthday dinner. Now that’s the secret of a happy birthday. That plus birthday cake. Ahhh. . . the joy.