I travel to South Carolina several times a year and often write about that state’s local foods and the uniqueness of the region. The reason I migrate to South Carolina so often is because our family has a vacation house there that was our mother’s home. This “cabana” has been in the family since 1971. The location couldn’t be better as it sits on a small island off the coast near the Georgia border. Now as we are still recovering from Harvey and slowly – very slowly – putting our lives and our house back together, I sit in our home in South Carolina, where Hurricane Irma hit just weeks ago. We managed to escape flooding and received only high winds and rain. Through this we were very lucky with only needing to put on a new roof. So, I am here, working long distance with my builder, husband and daughters in Kingwood as they continue with our house repairs. Next column, I will be back in Kingwood and hopefully finalizing our house plans there.

In the interim, I am enjoying the beautiful South Carolina low country region and the many cultural, historical and recreational activities as well as the treasures of the Atlantic Ocean. I have tried crab all over the United States and especially enjoy a good crab boil, barbecued crabs and stuffed crabs, but when I’m in the mood for crab cakes … that can be a challenging quest. I’m pretty darn picky; I don’t want to have to pick out shell bits from my cakes and I don’t want my cakes too bready, too spicy or too big. Lightly sautéed in a pan with just enough breading, cracker crumbs or panko to hold them together is – in my opinion – a perfect crab cake. So here I am sharing with you a couple of my favorite crab cake recipes. Pull up a chair and “Please Join My Table” where you can have your cake and eat crab too!

Crab Cakes (Gluten Free)

1 pound fresh crabmeat
2 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons of minced
shallots or red onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup chopped sweet red pepper
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon course
ground mustard
1/3 cup coconut flour,
chickpea flour or Cup4Cup
gluten-free flour
Approximately 1/2
teaspoon sea salt
1-2 dashes Tabasco (optional)
Paprika for topping

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. In a medium-size bowl, mix all ingredients together. If the mixture is too wet, add more flour. To make patties use about 1/3 of a cup of mixture, roll into patties and place on the parchment paper-lined sheet pan. Press the patties to flatten slightly and sprinkle with paprika. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven, gently flip crab cakes over with a spatula and bake for another 5 minutes. If you want them crispier, place them under the broiler for 1-2 minutes. Remove from oven and serve warm with your favorite seafood sauce. Makes about 6 crab cakes.
Note: You can substitute salmon or finely chopped-up shrimp for the crabmeat. You can freeze these as well. Just bake them as directed, cool to room temperature and freeze right on the parchment lined sheet pan. When frozen, place them in freezer bags. To defrost and reheat, place them in a 250-degree preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.
This recipe was given to me from Terry Rogers, our daughter Karie’s mother-in-law. We were visiting her in Sargent, Texas and she served these to us after a big catch!


Caney Creek Crab Cakes

3 eggs (slightly beaten)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 quart crabmeat
1/2 cup each of celery, onion
and bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup chopped jalapeno pepper
3 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon Emeril’s Essence
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/2 to 1 cup dry packaged Potato Buds (just enough to
stick crab cakes together)
1 smooth-cut, empty
tuna can, top and bottom
removed, washed and dried
then oiled with olive oil
Butter and olive oil for
frying crab cakes
Lemon wedges and
parsley for garnish

DIRECTIONS: In a large sauce pan, saute peppers, celery and onions in butter and olive oil. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, then mix in seasonings, cream and eggs. Slowly add crabmeat, being careful to not break up the meat too much. Add Potato Buds slowly, adding just enough to stick together. Chill 1 hour. Shape crab cakes using tuna can to create unified cakes. In a large fry pan, melt butter with EVOO over medium-to-high heat. Add crab cakes, being careful not to crowd the pan, and saute gently 2-3 minutes on each side and remove to cooking sheet as they are done. Keep cakes warm in a 275-degree oven while continuing to saute remaining crab cakes. Serve hot with easy remoulade (geniuskitchen.com/recipe/randys-easy-remoulade-sauce-153253) and seafood cocktail sauce and garnish with lemon wedges and chopped parsley. Give them a Bam! with Emeril’s Essence and enjoy!


How about this, crab on phyllo...

Crab and Avocado Phyllo Bites

1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
1/4 cup minced shallots
or red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces lump crabmeat
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
15-20 mini phyllo shells
1/2 large avocado, diced
1 small Roma tomato,
seeded and diced
1/4 cup minced dill for topping
Fresh lemon for squeezing on top

DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Saute the onion, bell pepper and garlic until soft. Add the crabmeat, salt and pepper and cook until the crab is heated through, about 30 to 60 seconds. Add 1 large tablespoon of the crab filling to each phyllo shell. Arrange the stuffed shells on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, place on serving tray, and top each stuffed shell with avocado, tomato and lemon juice and serve immediately.
Note: Filo or phyllo is the Greek word for leaf. It is very thin dough used for making pastries like baklava. Don’t fill the phyllo shells until you’re ready to bake, and eat right away.

Karen Boughton
Author: Karen BoughtonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I grew up in a big, Greek, cooking family. I married my high school sweetheart and soon had three daughters. My husband and I worked in the family’s Greek restaurant, “Zorba’s,” for several years before moving to Baton Rouge and eventually Corpus Christi. There I taught microwave cooking classes for Amana.in studio and on television for three years before moving to Kingwood in the late '80s. I reached out to learn more about regional and international foods, spending 16 years in management in private athletic/dining/country clubs for ClubCorp, where I embraced health and cooking. In 2008 I joined the Tribune Newspapers as food editor, the same time that I became a nutrition advisor and USANA Health Sciences Associate. These two passions have given me better health and the freedom to live life my way.

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