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Maryland Blue Crab Cake Panini

This recipe was the grand prize-winning recipe for the 2001 crab cooking contest held in conjunction with the 54th annual National Hard Crab Derby.

Credited to Jodi Jones Smith.

  • 1 lb. Maryland blue lump crab meat
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • ½ cup fresh washed basil leaves
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • ½ tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/3 plus ¼ cup minced green onions
  • 1/3 cup minced celery
  • ½ cup cracker crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 1½ teaspoon seafood seasoning

Mix garlic cloves, basil leaves, 3 tablespoons olive oil, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste and mayonnaise in a food processor and set aside.

Toss together red onion, red wine vinegar and fresh oregano in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Saute 1/3 cup minced green onions and minced celery until soft.

In a large bowl, mix cracker crumbs, ¼ cup of minced green onions, egg, parsley, seafood seasoning and ½ teaspoon salt. Add the sauteed onion and celery, then gently mix in the crab meat.

Form the crab mixture into eight cakes. Place the cakes, not touching, on a metal baking sheet. Broil the crab cakes under the broiler for about 4 minutes. Gently turn them over, careful not to break them, and broil on the other sides. At the end of 8 minutes, they should be nicely browned.

Heat a stovetop grill on medium heat.

Crown 8 semi-hard round buns by cutting off the rounded tops with a bread knife. If not already split, cut in half, lengthwise. Brush the outsides with olive oil.

On the inside of the top half of each bun, spread about 1 teaspoon basil sauce and ½ tablespoon onion relish. Place a crab cake on the inside of the bottom half of the bun.

Grill each sandwich for a minute or two per side, pressing down on the sandwich with an egg turner. The sandwich is done when lightly browned on each side.

Cut the sandwiches into two halves or quarters and serve.

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