Every Friday when my husband and I were dating, we ate dinner at Charlie’s, a local seafood restaurant. We went early in the evening before the after work crowds stopped in and filled the small place. One of our favorite appetizers was the deep-fried Chesapeake Bay Crab Balls. We ordered them every Friday night for a couple of years, until the restaurant suddenly went out of business (a total bummer). I asked the server once if he had the recipe for the crab balls. He told me that no recipe was needed. It was really easy, he said…just add this and that, throw in the crab and deep fry it.
I use lump crabmeat, but I’ve also made these with claw meat, too. If using canned crab, make sure you drain it well. The extra liquid can make the batter too runny. I also like to use golden plain bread crumbs, mostly for the flavor. The Old Bay seasoning is flavor enough, so plain breadcrumbs is all you will need in this recipe. I don’t like dishes where the seasoned breadcrumbs and the seasonings clash. You can also increase the Old Bay seasoning, but if you do, then you’ll want to cut the 1/4 teaspoon of salt. I’m not sure the 1/4 teaspoon of salt is needed even if you leave the Old Bay seasoning as it is in the recipe. It depends, I guess, on how much salt you like in your food.
I’m not sure this recipe is exactly like the one they used to make at Charlie’s, but the flavor is the same. Ah, those delicious memories.
Chesapeake Bay Crab Balls Recipe
- 1 pound lump crabmeat*
- 1/2 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- canola oil for frying
- Add all ingredients to medium bowl except crabmeat; mix well. Add crabmeat and gently fold in with fork until crabmeat is completely coated with the breadcrumb mixture
- Fill medium saucepan about 2 inches deep with canola or vegetable oil. Heat until oil temperature reaches the seafood level on an oil thermometer or 365 degrees.
- Form small balls, about 1 inch, and deep fry in batches of 4 or 5 until toasty and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.
*If using canned crabmeat, drain well before adding to breadcrumb mixture.
Recipe adapted from a Chesapeake Bay crab ball recipe.