We're lucky to have Scott as a personal friend, and something we learned about him is that before he became the best of the best in the guiding business he made a living as a chef. In days when restaurants filled with people seeking fish, Scott taught himself how to best prepare the catch of the day. He loves to call it "Cracker Cooking".
So do we. This is the first in a regular series of recipes, cooking tips and hints, and other table-compliant attitudes, insight, and education we can expect from Captain Scott. We're already honored to have him connected with this site in any way; to have his recipes is a dream come true. I stole a few for the book I worked on with our friend Captain Mel Berman, and having Scott continue helping our community is a true blessing, and one we really appreciate.
Mackerel in the Crabcakes?????
No. The CrabCake recipe doesn't use Mackeral, although if you think about it and follow the instructions in this first paragraph where I talk about Macs (and any oily fish, including bluefish) you really could use the un-oily meat you can get from Mac fillets for the recipe.
But don't. For the crabcake recipe, if you're gonna do anything, you can kick it up a notch if you replace the crab meat with lobster (Maine or our local -- and arguably more delicious and tender -- spiny variety) or (YUMMM!) Stone Crab in season (of course).
Let's talk about mackeral for a minute, though. Remember, October is Kingfish and Spanish season (or one half of it as they make their way south). They're considered an oily and nasty fish. But follow these instructions and you'll find them to be better than you could imagine.
REMOVING THE FISHY...
- When you catch a mackeral or kingfish, ice it as fast as possible. As soon as you can pull the fish off the ice, fillet it and get the fillets on ice. Keeping them cold is critical, and eating a slightly old mackeral will turn you off fish for the rest of time.
- Put the fillets in a cookie pan and pour Sprite on them -- include a glass of wine, too to suit your taste. You can use Ginger Ale or 7-Up too, but I prefer Sprite (this is purely my personal favorite, though; the Ginger ale is fine and not nearly as sweet. I have friends who've tried this with diet soda and swear there's no difference in the end result). You want a mix of wine and soda to just cover the fish, though. Don't soak them in liquid.
- Leave the fish in the refrigerator covered at least an hour. Overnight is best.
- This trick pulls the oil from the meat, and you will find it hard to believe the difference in what you thought was fresh mackerel and what a little Sprite does to them. It's white and delicious, and -- if you kept them cold -- more tasty then you would ever think it could be.
- Drain them really well, and grill or broil them. Sprinkle both sides with a little Paprika, Lemon, and brush them with melted butter.
So where are the Crab Cakes?
Here they are. You can use canned crab, stone crab, or even lobster for this dish. I've made it with a combination of diced shrimp and scallop, too. But start with the freshest blue crab you can lay your hands on.
You can either deep-fat-fry these, or saute them in a frying pan. Either way they might be the best you've ever eaten.Ingredients:
- 2 pounds of crab meat. You can buy blue crab meat in the can, and it's very fresh. Don't break it up or chop it -- leave it as whole as it is when you get it. If you know how to, the best meat of all is fresh blue crab. Boil them quickly till they turn red and let them cool before cleaning them.
- 2 eggs well beaten.
- 1 cup of mayonaisse
- 3/4 Tablespoon Salt. Use sea salt if you like it, but cut back; it can overpower a recipe fast.
- 3/4 Tablespoon Pepper
- 1/2 Cup grated onion
- 1 Stalk of Celery diced chopped fine
- 1 Red or Green pepper chopped fine
- 4 Ounces of well-crushed but not powdered Saltine Crackers (the salted ones)
- Put the chopped celery in the bottom of a glass bowl
- Put in the two eggs and beat them well in the celery
- Add the salt, pepper and mayonaisse
- Add the onions and peppers. Make sure they're chopped fine or they'll overwhelm the texture.
- First squeeze to drain the fluids from the crab, then mix the meat into the bowl. Do not chop them first; rather put them in as whole as they came cleaned. (If you use broiled or leftover fish, chop it slightly, but not too much -- you still want texture)
- Add half of the four ounces of crackers. The mixture will be rather wet and loose, but you only want it manageable, not too dry. You can increase the texture slightly by adding more of the crackers.
- If you're deep-fat-frying, heat the oil to 350 Degrees F. and deep fry until golden brown.
- If you're pan frying them, brown on both sides for five minutes, then put in a 400 F. preheated oven for about 10 minutes
-- Captain Scott Moore, for my friends at TheOnlineFisherman.com
From the Publisher: To most of our region's fishing community, Captain Scott Moore is a legend in his own right. Often thought-of as the guy who taught the world how to use whitebait to chum snook, he told us in an interview that it was actually an old and passed friend of our community GB Knowles (and other 'old timers') that carried castnets on their shoulders while wading in the flats and backwaters of Charlotte Harbor. And that was where he learned to do it as a young guy chasing monster snook. You might get a kick out of watching the guy hand feed Robalo like they were bluegill in your backyard pond.