Good News for Crab Cake Lovers

Sign outside the rest rooms at the International Boston Seafood Show

How to Make the World’s Best Crab Cakes, where I share my mother-in-law Doris’ recipe for Maryland Crab Cakes, is one of my most popular posts. So when I returned to the International Boston Seafood Show today to finish my coverage as part of the “1st Annual iPura Tweet & Blogfest at IBSS 2011” blogging contest, I was delighted to make some new discoveries about one of my favorite crustaceans.

Maryland-style crab cakes are the best, but unless you make your own, it’s very hard to get a decent one outside of Maryland. So I was blown away when I tasted the crab cakes from the Maryland-based Handy International at the show. They had a rich, lightly-fried, sweet crab flavor without too much breading—better than the crab cakes that you get at many restaurants outside of Maryland.

I was happy to learn that Handy’s products are available in numerous places, including CostCo and Whole Foods. Not only that, Handy’s recently launched the world’s first certified gluten-free version that the gluten-free community is raving about.  The Handy salesperson I spoke with said that the gluten-free crab cakes use rice flour instead of wheat flour, which makes them moister—maybe even tastier–than their regular cakes.  I can’t wait to try them.

But there will be no crab cakes, gluten-free or otherwise, if crabs are no longer available. As reported by Seafood, the 11 US companies that belong to the National Fisheries Institute’s Crab Council just announced they are adopting a minimum-size requirement for blue-swimming crabs from Indonesia and the Philippines, where they source a vast amount of their products. They hope to ensure the sustainability of the crab population by keeping undersized crabs from being harvested.

The minimum-size requirement is part of a larger industry initiative that includes support for associations of fishers, government, and NGOs in the two countries.  While this is only a first step of a much larger effort that must take place, I think it’s great news for crab cake lovers like me.

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