Confession time…about five years ago I moved to an area where Trader Joe’s had stores, but I didn’t shop there for almost two years. Shocking. Embarrassing. I will say in my defense that I spent eight years overseas and had never heard of them. But still, barely an excuse, I admit. Then a kind friend introduced me to TJ’s, and I kicked myself for ignoring the radio commercials and never stopping in to try it. No more. My husband now knows that anywhere we live in the continental United States must have a Trader Joe’s within reasonable driving distance.
I shop TJ’s for all sorts of things—wine, cheese, bread, nuts, pasta, frozen fruit (perfect for smoothies), frozen veggies, other frozen goodies, yogurt, just about anything. I’m always game to try something new from TJs, and yesterday we sampled the TJ’s frozen Maryland Style Crab Cakes. They cost $2.99 and you get two cakes in a 6 oz package. The cakes are relatively thin, only about 1/2 to 3/4 inch tall. The packages describes them as “A savory blend of Crab meat, seasoned cornbread crumbs and Spices,” and it provides instructions on the back for both the stove top and the oven or toaster oven. Microwave is not recommended.
We decided to serve them with the traditional side dishes of coleslaw and hush puppies. I thawed the cakes in the refrigerator, which took about a couple hours, then heated up the skillet to medium and added two tablespoons of olive oil. Getting them out of the package was a bit tricky because they were pretty soft and two cakes started to fall apart in my hands. I patted them back together and put them in the skillet. The package says to cook on each side for three minutes, and I would say that is the absolute maximum. They cook very quickly and the first side was overdone, but we got the second side just right at about two minutes. We drained them on paper towels before serving.
After sampling them plain and with horseradish sauce, my husband’s favorite, we decided the flavor and texture were a bit off. We detected more of a fishy taste than a crab taste, and the interior had a gummy mouth feel. In a restaurant or homemade crab cake, you can detect lumps of crab separate from the fillers, but that was not the case here. To be fair, that’s not really surprising since the cakes have been frozen and then thawed, and they will most certainly be affected by moisture.
Ultimately, we are glad that we tried them, but we’re probably going to stick with homemade crab cakes from now on.
[An original post from Andrea Meyers: making life delicious. All images and text copyrighted, All Rights Reserved.]
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