October 31, 2016, Cape Charles, VA – In response to the unprecedented enthusiasm surrounding their 100% Eastern Shore, no filler, crab cakes, the Cape Charles Rotary Club will once again gear up on November 18th. The drill begins the day before when Dr. Paul Strong, the Club’s Treasurer and former President, backs his pick up to Tom Fitzgerald’s Little Sully’s Clams, in Eastville, and loads nearly 400 pounds of iced down Chesapeake blue crabmeat. The amount of special verses claw meat is a well-kept Rotary secret.
The Cape Charles Rotary Club’s crab cake recipe is not a secret: crab meat, mayonnaise, mustard, Old Bay Seasoning, egg wash and panko crumbs. However, the relative amount of these ingredients in each succulent crab cake is known only by an inner circle of Rotarians. Keep in mind, the heart of the cake is 100% crab meat; the panko crumb dressing provides the desired crunchiness when the cake is baked or fried.
Production begins early on the morning on the 18th. Around 7:30 AM, sleepy-eyed Rotarians and volunteer helpers arrive at the Cape Charles Rescue Services’ station house, in Cheriton, and begin setting up workstation tables covered with plastic tablecloths.
At the first workstation, after donning hairnets and latex gloves, the Rotarians inspect the crabmeat, unloaded from Paul’s pick up, for minute pieces of crab shell that may have escaped the pickers. The next workstation, the heart of the operation, is where the ingredients are hand mixed in huge bowls following a recipe adjusted over time by loyal consumer feedback. To ensure portion uniformity, size #8 ice cream scoops are used to craft the emerging finished product, before it is transferred to the next step – the panko crumb coating.
The panko coating tables are an imaginable eggy mess as production wraps up. At this workstation, each crab cake is dipped in an egg wash and hand-coated with crispy panko crumbs. Voilà, the crab cakes are ready for packaging and delivery. The “birth of a crab cake” saga could end here, but not praising the distribution management system designed by John Burdiss, Cape Charles’ distinguished counsellor at law, would be criminal. As in years past, close to 1,500 crab cakes are customer ready by noon and John’s crab cake lost rate is zero!
The crab cakes are sold for $6 and purchased in trays of six. This fall’s order deadline is November 9th. Many repeat buyers purchase multiple trays and freeze them for use throughout the holidays. To order yours, please call Bill Payne at 331-4047 or send an email to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Cape Charles Rotary Club thanks its friends for their continued support.