Crab cakes are a Maryland institution, and the best are Maryland bred.
The high priestess of crab cookery is Nancy Devine, who rules the Lexington Market in Baltimore. Her parents, who founded Faidley’s, sold only fresh fish and produce until the early 1970s when prepared foods started making their way into markets and Mrs. Devine decided to start selling her crab cakes.
Through the years her recipe has changed slightly, but she has always made three different kinds of cakes from lump, backfin and claw meat for three different pocketbooks.
Mrs. Devine would not give me her recipe but admits that the success of a good crab cake is in using your hands to mix the ingredients. She did, at least, share the ingredients; the rest I deduced by testing. It may not be Mrs. Devine’s exact recipe, but it is a pretty good second guess. The cakes have a crunchy exterior and moist interior. Mrs. Devine attributes the lightness to the addition of saltines and the great taste to consistency and basic good home cooking.
—By Joan Nathan