Perry Cabin Crab Magic

The historic Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels boasts the AAA Four-Diamond STARS restaurant anchored by Chef Gregory James

Chef Gregory James 

The historic Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels boasts the AAA Four-Diamond STARS restaurant anchored by Chef Gregory James. James is a product of a professional food-and-hospitality family tradition, the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, and 25 years of top-shelf kitchen experience. After developing his classic cooking chops in New York, James set out to work in American food hot spots such as Charleston, South Carolina and Napa Valley. The Inn at Perry Cabin called, and all it took was a visit to Maryland’s Eastern Shore with its endless acres of produce and the Bay’s fresh seafood treasures to convince him he had found a new home.

Since arriving here, he has convened sessions with local farmers and watermen to exchange ideas and develop the critical relationships for dependable and fine Bay-to-table dining. According to glowing OpenTable reviews, the proof is on the plates at the inn’s dining venues.

Here, he shares his unique twists on three crab dishes, the Chesapeake’s true measure of an excellent chef. 

IPC Stars Crab Cake

It all starts with the STARS Crab-Cake Mix:

  • 1 teaspoon crème fraiche
  • ¼ cup Dukes mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • ½ tablespoon chives, fine mince
  • ½ lemon, zested

 (Note: There’s no binder/filler. The egg holds it together.)

  1. Drain a pound of crab meat uncovered on paper towels in a sheet pan for at least two hours, preferably overnight. TIP: Use a black light to look for and remove any remaining shell pieces.
  2. Whisk together the crème fraiche, Dukes, Old Bay, chives, lemon zest, and beaten egg.
  3. Carefully fold in the crabmeat without breaking up the meat.     
  4. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, coat pan with oil and heat until shimmering.
  5. Add crab cakes and cook in batches, until golden and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes per side.
  6. Serve with spinach, tomato, cucumber, or avocado, and pair with a nice Pinot Grigio. 

Parker Crab Rolls with Green Apple Aioli & Pickled Celery

  • 1 lb. STARS crab cake mix including fresh crab meat
    (as in the crab cake recipe)
  • ½ cup apple aioli 
  • 1 cup pickled celery 
  • 2 tablespoon softened butter
  • 16 Parker House rolls
  1. Lightly butter the ends of the Parker House rolls
    and place into medium hot skillet.
  2. Allow to brown and flip.
  3. Remove from the heat, make a slit on the top,
    and place crab mixture into the slit.
  4. Repeat for the remaining rolls.
  5. Top each roll with a dollop of apple aioli and
    2-3 pieces of pickled celery. 

Green Apple Aioli

Combine and whisk together:

  •  1/3 cup Dukes mayonaise
  •  1/3 cup finely diced (brunoises) green apples
  •  4 teaspoons chopped dill
  •  4 teaspoons chopped parsley
  •  4 teaspoons lemon juice + zest
  •  4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  •  ½ teaspoon garlic powder

Pickled Celery

  •  3 cups cold water
  •  2 cups tarragon vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  •  1 cup sugar
  •  1 cup celery, shaved on mandoline or thinly sliced
  •  1 tablespoon pickling spice
  1. Bring vinegar, sugar and spice to a boil.
  2. Remove from the heat.
  3. Pour the boiling mixture into a large bowl with very cold water.
  4. Add the celery.
  5. Allow to pickle for 2 hours.

Crab Fritters

This “cousin to the crab cake” hush puppy is kept simple with a spicy Comeback sauce.

  • 1 lb. STARS crab cake mix with crab meat
  • ½ cup Comeback sauce 
  • 2 cups fine white cornmeal
  • Canola oil
  • Old Bay
  • Lemon zest
  • Kosher salt
  • Garnish
  1. Form the crab mix into 1-oz balls.
  2. Roll into the cornmeal.
  3. Fry in canola oil heated to 325 ° F.
  4. Cook until golden brown on the outside and 145° F internally.
  5. Remove from the hot oil and place onto paper towel.
  6. Sprinkle with Old Bay, salt, and lemon zest.
  7. Serve with Comeback sauce and garnish with sliced lemons, grilled lemons, petite herb salad, micro greens, or nothing at all.

Comeback Sauce

Combine and whisk together: 

  • 1/2 cup Dukes mayonaise
  •  2 tablespoons chili sauce
  •  1 tablespoon ketchup
  •  1/2  tablespoon lemon juice
  •  1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  •  1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  •  1/2 teaspoon Fresno chile sauce
  •  1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  •  1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  •  1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  •  1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  •  1 pinch black pepper