I love crab cakes and they’re my preferred method of eating crab. While eating a whole crab can be fun, sometimes it’s just too much work and somehow I always end up crunching on a piece of shell, which isn’t so fun.
Crab cakes also remind me of the summers I used to join my cousins down the shore. Every year, they would rent a house in Avalon, NJ and at some point crab cakes always made it onto my plate, contributing to fond memories I have of spending weeks at the beach.
Did you know that the consumption of crab cakes dates back quite a few centuries? According to Food Timeline, the “practice of making minced meat cakes/patties (seafood/landfood) is ancient. Minces mixed with bread/ spices/ fillers came about for two reasons: taste and economy.” But, crab cakes weren’t known as crab cakes until sometime in the 20th century.
Originally, when I bought the jumbo lump crab, it was intended as the topping of a butternut squash soup (which sounded delicious). However, the market was out of butternut squash (I couldn’t believe it), so instead of letting delicious crab go to waste, I thought why not make some crab cakes. The side of Old Bay Seasoning cans has a nice little recipe for crab cakes, but I also found this one on Williams-Sonoma and kind of combined the two.
Most recipes you find are made using 1 lb of crab, but I only bought 1/2 lb of crab, which was just enough to make four crab cakes.
1/2 lb. jumbo lump crab, cleaned of any remaining shell
1 baguette (1 – 2 slices of any bread will work too)
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp vegetable oil (for frying)
1 – 3 garlic cloves, minced
4 scallions, minced, including green portion
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 – 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Old Bay seasoning
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
Cayenne pepper to taste
1 – 2 cups All-purpose flour
Remove the inside of the baguette and tear into little pieces (like breadcrumbs). You can either discard the baguette crust or make actual breadcrumbs out of it. Place the torn baguette pieces in a large bowl and set aside. How much bread you decide to use is up to you, I definitely didn’t want the breadcrumbs to overpower the crab, but you’ll need at least 1 cup to hold everything together.
In a sauté pan, heat 1 tbsp of butter over low heat. Add the scallions and saute until slightly softened, then add the garlic and continue sauteing until fragrant. Along with the crab and cilantro, add the garlic onions to the breadcrumbs, and mix well.
In another bowl, whisk together the egg and mustard until well blended. Whisk in the remaining ingredients (except the flour). Slowly add the egg-mustard mixture to the crab mixture, stirring to make sure that the breadcrumbs are evenly moistened.
From here, it’s pretty much like making hamburgers. Form the mixture into an even mass covering the bottom of the bowl, I like to round the edges a bit. Then divide into even quarters with a knife or spatula. Shape each quarter into a round cake.
Put flour on a plate or parchment paper, and lightly and evenly coat each crab cake with flour. I highly recommend wetting your hands, so the crab cake doesn’t stick to them too much (it still will a little. This is always the messiest part).
Heat remaining butter with the vegetable oil in a medium/ large sauté or frying pan over medium heat. Fry the crab cakes for 3 – 4 minutes each side (or until desired level of brownness has been reached). Depending on how many crab cakes you’re making, you might have to fry in batches, but I was able to fit all four in my pan at the same time.
I decided to serve the crab cakes with roasted potatoes and a salad (not pictured). You could also serve as a burger or with cooked vegetables – the choice is yours.