My sister-in-law Eleanor Van Dyke and her husband, Roger, have owned a crab business in Cambridge for decades and know and buy crabs from many of the watermen in Dorchester County. Like everyone, they have seen a huge decline in the crab population at the same time that demand for crabmeat keeps growing. This is a slight variation on Eleanor’s delicious crab cakes. Roger has his own version, which some family members prefer, although they never tell Eleanor that.
1. Preheat the oven to broil. Pick through the crabmeat and discard any shell bits and cartilage. Combine the crabmeat in a large bowl with the crackers, mayonnaise, parsley, Old Bay, mustard, salt, and pepper, and gently toss until the mixture is well combined. Without handling excessively, form the mixture into 8 crab cakes and place them on an ungreased broiler pan or nonstick baking sheet.
2. Broil the crab cakes for 6 to 8 minutes, turning once, until golden brown on both sides. Serve immediately with tartar sauce, if desired.
In the end this turned out well, but
1) try using less mayonnaise; it’s practically a liquid if you follow the recipe, and
2) with an electric oven, the cakes need to be as close to the broiler as possible, and they need to be cooked to a dark brown (not golden brown) - the cooked surface is the only thing holding it all together.