Nigella, Jamie, Martha et al. get most of the attention when it comes to talking about recipe expertise. But for many Americans, there’s no higher authority than the back of the box.
Food trend observer Phil Lempert thinks more producers should be taking advantage of that.
“Companies should be changing up their recipes on the back of packages,” says Lempert, who is known as the “Supermarket Guru.” “So many consumers are bored with their food. They’re trying new recipes.”
Still, with customers often wildly loyal to old favorites, companies tend to proceed cautiously.
At McCormick & Co. Inc., the decision some years ago to change the side-of-the-can crab cake recipe on tins of Old Bay Seasoning came only after consumer testing in the Maryland area, crab central and Old Bay’s No. 1 market, says Laurie Harrsen, director of consumer communications.
The big change was dropping baking powder and Worcestershire sauce and adding prepared mustard and more Old Bay Seasoning. In an e-mail, Harrsen said the changes were made to improve the overall flavor of the crab cakes.
Tom Douglas, a Seattle-based restaurateur and author of “I Love Crab Cakes!” uses his own preparation rather than Old Bay when making crab cakes. But he thought the change made sense. “When I have crab cakes in crab cake country, I tend to think of them as very mustard-y and, of course, Old Bay-ish,” he said.
If you are nostalgic for the original side-of-the-can crab cake recipe from Old Bay Seasoning, we’ve got you covered. We reached back to the old favorite, still posted on the company website, and used that to create mini crab cakes that are served over roasted potato rounds and topped with a spicy, creamy remoulade.
Crab Cake Potato Stacks
Recipe adapted by Alison Ladman from Old Bay Seasoning
For the remoulade:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons hot pepper jelly
1 teaspoon capers, chopped
1 tablespoon sweet gherkin, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
For the potatoes:
10 baby red potatoes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
For the crab cakes:
2 slices stale bread, crusts removed
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon parsley
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 pound lump crabmeat
Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
To make the remoulade, in a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, pepper jelly, caper, gherkins, parsley and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Cut 2 ends off each potato, then cut each in half across the center to create 2 rounds. Place in a bowl and cover with hot water. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Remove the potatoes from the water and dry well. Place the potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with the oil and salt and pepper. Arrange the potatoes in an even layer on the baking sheet, then roast for 15 minutes. Use a spatula to flip each round, then roast for another 15 minutes, or until they are crispy and browned on the outside, and tender on the inside.
While the potatoes cook, make the crab cakes. Crumble the stale bread into a medium bowl and add the milk. All the bread should absorb all the milk. Add the remaining crab cake ingredients and mix until incorporated.
Form the mixture into 20 miniature patties, about the size of a tablespoon.
When the potatoes are cooked, transfer them to paper towels to drain any excess oil. Carefully place the crab cakes on the hot pan, and return to the oven. Cook for 5 minutes, then turn on the broiler. Watch carefully. Brown the crab cakes one side, about 2 minutes, then flip the crab cakes over and broil them until browned on the other side.
To serve, arrange the potatoes on a platter. Top each with a crab cake, then a small dollop of the remoulade. Serve immediately.
Yield: 20 servings