Chef Overturf’s ‘Better than Maryland’ crab cakes
My eyebrows shot up. Crab cakes better than the ones in Maryland? Such a gutsy claim from a chef working in a landlocked ski destination where foodies flock from around the country. “Guests from Maryland have told me that they’re amazing,” says Josh Overturf, executive chef at the Ogden Garden Grille & Lounge. They have, he boasts, “licked the plate clean.”
Overturf certainly knows how to handle this treat from the sea. The story goes that Overturf was working at Zax at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas years ago and put his crab cake on the lunch special. The hotel manager walked in for lunch, took one bite and immediately ordered one for every customer in the 30-table restaurant.
This story is the stuff of urban food legends. Fast forward to 2019, and Overturf has been delighting patrons in Ogden with his crab cakes for 11 years, along with many other creative delights.
Still hesitant? I’ve eaten Maryland crab cakes, crab cakes along the Eastern Seaboard and crab cakes all over the Gulf of Mexico. I was weaned on blue crabs boiled by the bucketful in South Louisiana. Trust me, these rival the best gourmet crab cakes I’ve ever eaten, and that’s saying something coming from this Cajun crab snob.
Overturf’s crab cake allows the lump crab meat to shine. It’s comprised of Gulf crab, along with simple spices and an essential “setting time.” Similar to baking, he mixes all the dry ingredients—Old Bay, spices and ground peppers, and then the wet ingredients—egg, mayo and Dijon. He gently folds in breadcrumbs so as not to mash the crab, and allows the patties time to set and bind. After searing, the crab cakes are beautifully plated with a gentle smear of roasted red pepper sauce, followed by the crab cake, drizzled with burre blanc, and topped with delicate citrus pearls made in-house. The perfectly crusted exterior gives way to the luscious crab inside.
These crab cakes are the kind that unite all crab lovers. They’re easy to create at home, but I recommend taking a trip to Ogden to give Overturf’s a try. You might even lick the plate clean.
The Garden Grille & Lounge, Hilton Garden Inn, 2271 S. Washington Blvd., Ogden
Chef Josh Overturf’s recipe for ‘Better than Maryland’ crab cakes
Makes six 2-ounce crab cakes
1 pound jumbo lump crab
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
2 tablespoons diced chives
Fresh ground salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup brunoised green peppers
½ cup fresh bread crumbs
1 shelled egg
Mix all ingredients in a bowl except crab. Gently fold in crab until it is combined. Do not break crab.
Heat sauté pan to medium. Add butter and cook crab cake for 2 minutes on each side.