If you head into the Suffolk seaside town of Felixstowe, ignoring the signs for the town centre and docks and turning left instead, you will eventually find yourself (after driving, no pun intended, through the middle of a golf course) at Felixstowe Ferry.
There is, unsurprisingly, a ferry there, a foot ferry across the tidal mouth of the River Deben to and from the Bawdsey peninsula, famous for the World War Two research station where radar was first developed and tested.
There’s a pub, a few houses, a cafe, a Martello tower in the distance … and a wet fish shop with its own smokehouse, Springtide Fish. When I visited the other day the lady behind the counter was busy dressing crabs and I couldn’t resist.
I’ve never seen the sense of only using white crab meat in dishes … it’s the brown meat that has most of the flavour. These patties contain both. Don’t even think about making them with tinned crab, they will be anaemic and tasteless. Get thee hence to the seaside!
1 good-sized dressed brown crab, picked over for any remaining bits of shell
4 tbsp fine white breadcrumbs
1 fat spring onion (or two normal-sized ones), finely chopped
1 medium-hot chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
Small thumb of ginger, peeled and grated
2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
Zest of a lime or lemon
Oil for frying
Herbs to garnish
Lemon or lime wedges to squeeze over
Place the first seven ingredients in a bowl and mash together with a fork. Form into six small patties, cover and refrigerate for at least half an hour for the flavours to blend and the mixture to firm.
Pour a couple of tablespoons of oil into a frying pan on a medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the patties until golden brown on the first side. Don’t be tempted to move them until they have formed a crust or they’ll fall apart. Carefully turn them over and cook the other side.
Serve at once, scattered with a few herbs and with lemon or lime wedges to squeeze over. Try them with crusty bread and a good salad.
… ah crab cakes! nice! I! I agree: the real taste is in the dark meat.
Now in London I never have crab: too expensive. When I had the restaurant in Lyme regis, we had crab delivered every day by Plum the fisherman (nickname): a big bag of cram meat, white and brown meat, for a very good price (considering the fluff involved in dressing the crab). we would make endless crab open sandwiches and occasionally also crab cakes (from Thomas Keller)
One of the pleasures of English fishing villages. Now when I see the price at my local fishmonger I cannot bring myself to spend that money (I have jus been to Billingsgate fish market and I was amazed by how MUCH LOWER wholesale prices are…. MUUUUUCH Lower)
I love Billingsgate though I haven’t been since we left London. We did a very good course at the Seafood School once years ago. But we have very good fishmongers and fresh fish here in Suffolk … we’re lucky being fairly close to the coast. Lx
PS I’ve just looked up the Thomas Keller recipe, looks delicious.
Thank you Mrs Portly, I have just got home from the seaside (the lovely Filey) with a dressed crab. Perfect timing!
Delighted to be of service! I haven’t been to Filey for years, has it changed much?It used to be pleasingly old-fashioned.
Well, Jan (Janicetymawr), fancy meeting you here! Are you going to invite us round for crab cakes then 😉 ?
Gotta love a fish cake!!
Nom! Crab cakes – and you’ve done the right thing and added chilli. Crab meat definitely loves a bit of heat. They look amazing! xx
Thanks, Lynn. It’s the sort of food I really like, simple and tasting of all its ingredients, but especially of that gorgeous crab. Yum!
Just LOVE crab – mm mmm. For me it’s better than lobster and you’re so right it shouldn’t be too messed with but the ingredients you’ve got just enhance it enough xx 👏👏
Love a crab cake, delicious. And we really must get over and explore the Suffolk coastline – keep meaning to get out there. Someone was also recommending the Kent coast the other day too. Fresh fish is decidedly lacking over here (unless you want to pay top dollar at Waitrose for ‘fresh’). Hope all is well with you guys.
Thank you … and you know you”re always welcome here if you fancy a break. Kentish fish also good! Have you tried Whitstable? Easy day trip from town. Lx