Monday, August 31, 2009

Perfect Crab Cakes

There's nothing worse than a crab cake with fillers like potatoes or excessive vegetables. These aren't potato or veggie cakes, they're called crab cakes for a reason. You want to actually taste the crab meat. After spending a small fortune on good quality crab, why would you want to cover it up with excess? Although I was very hesitant to use canned crab meat, I opted for the most expensive canned crab meat I could find at Trader Joe's (it was $12, a deal compared to what you'd pay at a fish market, AND this canned version keeps in your refrigerator for much longer than if you bought fresh!). As you can see from the photo, once I opened the lid, I was pleasantly surprised! It wasn't a can of mush, but a can of succulent, delicious, good-quality crab! I was well on my way to a batch of yummy crab cakes. Next, it's important to keep it simple, which is what I did. Don't overdo it with too many spices, seasonings and (ugh) fillers! You want to showcase your crab, and this version does exactly that. These crab cakes are so tender on the inside, melting in your mouth, with a great crust outside. Try them next time you want to impress! You won't be disappointed.

Crab Cakes
Serves 4 to 6

For the crab cakes:
1 lb crab meat, picked over for shells (I used Jack's Catch claw crab meat from Trader Joe's)
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. plus 3 T. olive oil, separated
1 egg
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. chopped parsley
4 dashes hot sauce
Pinch of Spanish paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup dried plain bread crumbs, plus more for dredging

For the sauce:
1/4 cup + 2 T. mayonnaise
2 T. lemon juice
1 T. capers, drained and chopped
Pinch of chopped parsley
2 dashes hot sauce
Pinch of Spanish paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat up 1 tsp. of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion until softened and then set aside to cool. In a large mixing bowl, add the crab meat (pick over it for shells, but don't break it up too much), egg, mayonnaise, onions, mustard, hot sauce, parsley, paprika, salt and pepper and mix carefully. Add the bread crumbs, and fold the mixture until just combined. Set aside the crab mixture while you prepare the sauce. The moisture in the crab mixture will begin to soften the bread crumbs.

In a small bowl mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce and taste for seasoning. Set aside until you are ready to serve.

Add some bread crumbs to a plate for dredging your crab cakes. Portion out the crab mixture into whatever size cakes you'd like to make. You can make 4 to 6 large to decent-sized crab cakes, or a bunch of minis if you'd prefer. Shape the crab cakes into patties, but don't flatten them too much as you don't want to completely dry out the interior as they cook. Dredge each crab cake in bread crumbs and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the prepared crab cakes and cook on each side for 4-5 minutes until nice and brown (beware, if you make smaller cakes they will cook faster!). Remove from the heat and drain briefly on paper towels, just to blot some of the oil. Serve immediately accompanied by the sauce.


The Duo Dishes said...

Finding a good crab cake at a restaurant can occasionally be hard, so making them is always preferred. Your version with the smokey paprika flavor is nice!

Victoria K. said...

Thanks, it's just a subtle touch :) I'll have to make these again soon! Trader Joe's rocks!

Jessie said...

ohhh yum! I love trader joe's, they have a lot of great and tasty foods there

Tasty Eats At Home said...

Yum, crab cakes. I love crab, but don't get a lot of it. This sounds like a perfect treat.

Anonymous said...

I have a tin in my cupboard and was looking for the perfect recipe! Many thanks! said...

I don't think I've ever noticed the canned crab meat at TJ's!!

I've been telling my hubby for the longest time I will make him some, but its always been so darn expensive.

Thanks for posting the recipe, and I totally agree about the fillers!

Victoria K. said...

You're welcome! I found a few brands there near the smoked salmon and refrigerated cold-cuts by the produce section. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

These do look perfect! You know it took me quite a while to learn how to make crab cakes just right. After a few times of failure about 10 years ago, I gave up on them altogether for a while, but then tried them again after some time has passed and now have a nice version.

Jennifer-Eighty MPH Mom said...

These look amazing! I love using fresh crab when I can, but when it's not in season, I use canned too. I have never seen canned claw meat though - I will look for it next time I'm at TJ's.

And now I have a hankering for crab cakes :)

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