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Crab cakes are one of my favorite seafood meals to eat. You can serve these in small portions as appetizers, as the center of a dish, or in a sandwich! They are easy to make but have so much flavor and are a great way to elevate your meal to rival eating at a nice restaurant. These were inspired by crab cakes I always get at Pappadeaux, a seafood restaurant in Texas. They serve it in a butter sauce with capers, crawfish tails, tomatoes, and crispy shoestring potatoes.
The key is in using jumbo lump crab meat to get the ultimate flavor and experience. You can easily substitute for regular crab meat or even imitation if you prefer.
To make an appetizer version, use a small ice cream scoop or spoon to portion them and shape them.
For larger pieces like this one, you would use a handful at a time to make the crab cake as a main course. To make it sandwich ready, use the same amount but make it wider instead of taller so it fits well into the bun.
This recipe makes 3 large crab cakes
10 oz jumbo lump crab meat (or preferred version of crab)
2 Tbsp diced very small each: carrot, celery, onion, optional: poblano/jalapeno/bell pepper
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1-2 cups panko bread crumbs (you can use crushed saltine crackers for a sweeter crust)
1 egg white
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
squeeze of lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp each: bay seasoning, parsley, garlic powder, chopped chive or green onion
Lets get cooking
1. In a saute pan, turn the heat on medium low and add the carrot, celery, onion, pepper, lemon juice, and 1 Tbsp butter. Slowly saute the ingredients until they are cooked through and translucent (about 4-5 minutes). Let the mix cool down before you go to the next step. I put them in a small bowl and in the freezer to make it cool faster.
2. Place the crab meat in a large bowl, along with a whisked egg white, 2 Tbsp mayo, about a Tbsp of the panko, dijon mustard, the cooled mixture, bay seasoning, parsley, garlic powder, chopped chive/green onions. Stir all of the ingredients very gently by folding them with a spatula. Be careful not to break the lump crab apart as you are mixing.
3. Get a 10 -12" saute pan going on medium high heat and add 1 Tbsp butter and olive. Start forming the patties while the pan is heating up. Grab a handful of the mixture in one hand and cup it with your other hand by forming a c shape with your hand and gently press the patty together until it starts to hold itself together. It may still fall apart, but that's ok! It's jumbo lump crab cakes, so you want them to be fall apart and not be homogeneous. Once the patty is formed, gently roll them in the panko breadcrumbs on all sides. You could also sprinkle the pank on the patty while you are holding them to control it better and prevent it from breaking. Once you have it fully coated you can start dropping them in to the pan CAREFULLY!
4. Once you see the butter fully melted and starting to bubble, you can add the patties into the pan. Add each one is as you form the patties, so that you don't have to keep picking them up and putting them down, or make them in bulk if you prefer that option. Shallow fry them for 1-2 minutes on each side until you see it get a nice golden brown crust and gently flip with a pancake flipper or fish spatula. I like to use my hand to hold the top while I turn it so it gently flips over to prevent it from breaking.
5. I like to plate them with some bruschetta tomatoes, either around the cake to keep that crispy crust or a little bit on top. The flavors go really well together and compliment each other. You could also add some butter sauce: In a small saucepan melt butter with some garlic and saute until cooked, then basil, and a splash of heavy cream.