I made crab cakes last night for dinner. Jack ate two and John ate SEVEN. That’s why John and I are such a good match. As his dad likes to say: “Well isn’t funny that a guy who loves to EAT finds a girl who loves to COOK!”
Here’s what you need to know about making crab cakes:
- Crab: Get the one-pound container of Blue Star Super Lump crab meat from Costco. It’s delicious. If you don’t shop at Costco, go to any grocery store that sells fresh crabmeat. You don’t need to pay extra for “jumbo” lump; just “lump” is fine. You can mix lump with legs and claw meat if needed.
- Mayonnaise: Hellmann’s please. You can use light if you wish, but not fat free. (What is fat free mayonnaise made of anyway? Weird.)
- Basil: Use fresh basil. Lemon basil would be lovely if you have it around.
- Parmesan: Freshly grated or good-quality pre-grated will work.
- Green Onions: I only use the green part (not the white), so the onion flavor doesn’t over power the crab. But you can throw in the whole thing if you don’t want to waste the white.
- Old Bay Seasoning: It’s a seasoning mix often used for shrimp or crab boils, and it’s perfect for crab cakes. There is a lot of salt in Old Bay and in the crab itself, which is why I do not add any additional salt to the cakes.
- Bread Crumbs: Basic store-bought bread crumbs are fine. Panko is better.
- Egg: Large. Cage-free, for the chickens’ sake.
Aside from the ingredients, the key to my crab cakes is the “chilling” step after you form the patties. Because I do not use a lot of filler, these crab cakes are very delicate. Putting the patties in the freezer before you cook them will help them hold together in the hot oil.
For serving, I love the remoulade sauce from the Central Market fish counter. It’s made in-house and is absolutely delicious. If you don’t have a Central Market, you can try making your own, or find another pre-made brand that you like, preferably without high-fructose corn syrup.
Keep ’em Coming Crab Cakes
Makes about 24 mini crab cakes (or 12-15 small ones)
To me, the perfect crab cake consists of crabmeat, plus just enough of the “other” ingredients to hold the seafood together, pan-fried in a bit of olive oil until the top of the cake is browned and the center is soft. This recipe does the job. So enjoy these as an appetizer, or like I do, for brunch, lunch, or dinner!
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons minced green onions (green portions only)
3 tablespoons Panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil (or lemon basil)
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 large egg
1 pound fresh lump crabmeat (check for shells, but do not wash)
Olive oil (for cooking)
Remoulade sauce (for serving)
Place the first seven ingredients in a medium bowl.
Stir to combine.
Toss gently to combine.
Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Using your hands, form balls of the crab mixture into small round patties. Place patties on the lined baking sheet. (The crab cakes pictured below are some that I made for a party — to serve as finger food — which is why they are so small. You can make them twice as big if you plan to serve them to guests as part of a sit-down meal.) Place in freezer for 30 minutes. Remove from freezer just before you cook them.
In a non-stick skillet, heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook crab cakes in batches, three or four at a time, for 3-4 minutes on each side or until nicely browned. Add additional oil as needed.
Place finished crab cakes on a serving plate. Serve immediately, or as soon as possible, with remoulade sauce.
I especially love these crab cakes alongside a simple green salad and roasted asparagus. As far as wine, I recommend a Sauvignon Blanc, such as Nobilo. Do let me know if you try these — I would love to hear your thoughts!