Crab Cakes

2011-09-08

In search of the prefect crab cake can be a whole life pursuit when you live near the Chesapeake Bay/Eastern Shore. One has a favorite served at a restaurant and usually a recipe at home. Talk of crab cake recipes are passed on from generation to generation. It was Labor Day weekend and it was time to bring out our favorite recipe for another special gathering.

So why do I say special. Unfortunately, there is just not enough crab to go around so a large source of it now comes from Asia regardless of where it comes from it is expensive. Supporting the local fisherman we only bought from Eastern Shore sourced crab but that jumbo lump crab came at a premium of over $25 a pound.

The recipe that is our favorite is one that we have adapted from a Fine Cooking recipe we found a few years ago. It replaced the favorite at that time in a trial between the two. We have tried some with saltines, regular breadcrumbs but found fresh bread crumb in this recipe really makes a difference. These crab cakes are rich in crab texture with just enough binder so as not to be heavy on filler. The Old Bay seasoning brings out a classic eastern shore flavor to top it all off. Serve these hot right off the pan or griddle.

Recipe
Note: This requires some advance preparation

1 lb. jumbo lump or backfin lump crabmeat
1 large egg (lightly beaten)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1-1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 to 1-1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt
1-1/4 cups fresh breadcrumbs (from soft white sandwich bread, such as Pepperidge Farm)
1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. olive oil
Lemon wedges for serving

Drain the crabmeat, and remove any shell material as necessary. Put the crab in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, mayonnaise, mustard, Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Scrape the mixture over the crab and mix gently until well combined. Gently break up the lumps with your fingers but be careful to not reduce the lump structure.

Add the breadcrumbs and the parsley to the bowl and mix them in thoroughly but gently; try not to turn the mixture into a mash—it should still be somewhat loose. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours.

For full size cakes shape the crab mixture into 8 cakes about 1 inch thick. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. When the butter is frothy, add the cakes to the pan (8 should fit comfortably). Cook until dark golden brown on the underside, about 4 minutes. Flip the cakes, reduce the heat to medium low, and continue cooking until the other side is well browned, 4 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over the cakes.

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