The recipe calls for saltines, can I use Panko breadcrumbs in place of
My assumption is that crabcakes have been made in Maryland before the advent of saltine crackers.
Ultimately, do what you want. You are putting on your table, not ours. The people whom you are aiming to please are your table guests, not Food52 commenters.
I don't see why not. I'd just adjust the salt, assuming your panko crumbs are "unseasoned" and plain panko aren't salty.
I love crabcakes made with panko. I'm not sure what makes a Maryland crabcake authentic besides the crab, but I almost always use panko with West Coast Dungeness.
You can use bread crumbs or panko--just don't use too much. The less you use, the better. The model crab cake, to my taste, comes from Chris's Marketplace--I buy them at DC's Dupont Circle farmers market regularly. I don't think he uses any filler at all.
Maryland crab cakes contain Old Bay seasoning, and a bit of Worcestershire sauce and mustard.