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5 steps to better crab cakes
June 4, 2017, 4:47 pm
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Crab cakes are a lot like meatballs: both come together with the help of an egg, breadcrumbs, and a few common minced vegetables and herbs; both are hand-patted and pan-fried; and both have a sidekick sauce - marinara for meatballs, tartar for crab cakes.

The two dishes part ways when it comes to protein. Ground meat is as low-maintenance as it gets - just dump it in the bowl and start piling on the other ingredients. Even the kind of crab meat you buy in tubs at the store that is already been hand-picked - requires another once-over.

Meticulously picking over the crab meat is the single most important step in making crab cakes. Nothing ruins a meal like biting into a shell fragment. Here listed are the five steps to preparing crab cakes:

5 Steps to preparing crab cakes:

Pick that crab. Designate one little bowl for shell fragments and another bigger bowl for catching the clean crab. Try to keep the lumps intact as best you can.

For every ¼ kilogram of crab meat, add in a small handful of minced shallot, another of chopped fresh parsley, a bigger handful of diced red pepper, and another of diced green pepper. You will use about half of each pepper.

Also add an egg, three to four heaping spoonful of mayo, a heaping handful of dry breadcrumbs (or toasted fresh crumbs that have been pulsed till fine), and a squirt each of Dijon and Worcestershire sauce. A few shakes of Tabasco, Crystal, or your favorite thin hot sauce are welcome now, too. Mix everything up gently to avoid breaking up the lumps of crab. If the mixture is too wet, you can add in some more breadcrumbs, and if it is too dry then go for the mayo.

Form the patties.

Thoroughly dredge each patty in all-purpose flour and fry them in clarified butter for the best browning.Flip only once. Drain on paper towels, and serve hot with tartar sauce.

Now, for that sidekick sauce. To make a killer tartar, mix together the following: mayo, relish (or minced pickles/gherkins), capers, dill (preferably fresh), fresh chives, Dijon, and fresh lemon juice. The order dictates the general proportion, with mayo being the main ingredient and fresh lemon juice coming in at just a dribble. The sauce can be made ahead of time so you are not frantically mixing while your cakes cool.

If you do forget, you can also make a quick tartar sauce with just mayo and relish.Or, just sprinkle them with lemon juice.

If you still need a recipe, here is one to go with:

Crab cakes with fennel, scallions and green apple

Aioli

Ingredients:

Egg yolk, at room temperature, as fresh as possible

2 cloves garlic, minced

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 cup canola oil, or other neutral oil

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 pinch cayenne pepper

Sea salt

Preparation:

Empty the egg yolk into a small bowl and mix with the minced garlic. Add 1 tbsp. of Dijon mustard and a few generous turns of the pepper mill.

Slowly incorporate the oil in a thin stream, while constantly beating with a fork or mini whisk. Continue whisking for about five minutes, until the mayonnaise has risen in the bowl, turned a very pale yellow and has a consistency firm enough to stick handily to the back of a spoon. Mix in the lemon juice and the cayenne. Add sea salt to taste. Let the mayonnaise rest in the fridge, covered, for at least one hour before use.

Crab Cakes

Ingredients:

1fennel bulb

1tbsp. olive oil

6scallions

½ one green apple

¼ kilogram lump of crab meat

½ cup panko bread crumbs

Canola oil and unsalted butter, for cooking

Preparation:

Remove the stems from your fennel, and then peel the top layer of the bulb. Halve the bulb, and lay each half flat side down on your cutting board. Thinly slice. Sauté the slices over medium-low heat with 1 tbsp. of olive oil until soft. Let the fennel cool slightly, and then roughly chop it.

Wash and trim your scallions, then thinly slice the white parts only.

Halve and core your apple. Lay the flat sides on your cutting board, and thinly slice crosswise and then lengthwise—you are aiming for small batons of apple.

In a large bowl, gently mix the crab with 3/4 cup of the aioli, a few tablespoons at a time. Incorporate the panko breadcrumbs, and then fold in the fennel, scallions and apple.

Form the crab into patties, and then move them to a plate. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for about two hours—you want them to solidify slightly, so they do not fall apart during cooking, and you want to give the flavors a chance to marry.

In a wide sauté pan or shallow Dutch oven, heat some canola oil and butter. Cook the crab cakes a few at a time, making sure not to crowd the pan. Cook them for a few minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown.

Serve with the extra aioli, lemon wedges, a sprinkling of cayenne and/or hot sauce.

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