I love a good crab cake. The problem is in finding one. Most often crab cakes come out dry, dense, and or disappointing. It seems like all too often they end up resembling something more like a hockey puck of over processed ingredients rather than the treat they really are. For me the perfect crab cake would be light, complex but subtle all to accent the crab, and have real chunks of crab meat. Not so much that it’s over powering but enough that you can recognize it. It turns out that such a thing exists and it isn’t hard to make at home!
So you may remember I made a dinner for Valentines day that was an update to surf and turf. This was a beef roulade that was filled with a crab stuffing. For that recipe I needed four ounces of lump crab meat. The crab meat I ended up buying was crab claw meat and was about 16 ounces. With 12 ounces leftover I knew I needed to come up with something to do with the meat. It was tasty enough I wanted to just snack on it out of the tin but I resisted. Then it hit me. Crab Cakes.
Whenever I have a new recipe I want to make I struggle with what cookbook to go to for the answer. So many have their own twist on a recipe but honing in on which one to try was proving problematic. I first went to Ad Hoc at Home. This is a cookbook by Thomas Keller. He certainly had a recipe for crab cakes but it was lots of ingredients. However it called for things like a couple tablespoons of finely chopped red bell pepper. Although this sounds great I have a peeve about being left with so much of an ingredient unused. Hence making crab cakes. He also called for using Panko for the bread component and I had way less crab than he called for which meant I would have to majorly adjust the recipe. This was all adding up to not seeming like the answer.
I went back to my cookbook library and turned to Tyler Florence. Having several of his cookbooks I went to his most recent first “Inside the Test Kitchen” but no luck with a crab cake. Then I went to Tyler’s Ultimates. Sure enough, this book had a recipe. Looking over the recipe I saw it was simple, straightforward, and interesting. I also liked that it came with a sauce recipe and a recommendation for sides and toppings. I don’t usually do the specific recommendations in cookbooks but when they recommend sides it helps point me in the right direction.
I was still hung up on the bread component. Thomas Keller called for Panko and Tyler Florence was calling for Fresh Bread Crumbs (made from white bread, crusts removed). It happened to coincide with when I was making my Kamut and Millet Challah. I reserved the ends of the challah after slicing it up. I then cubed the ends and put them in a bowl, sitting on the counter for a few days to get super stale. I then popped them into the food processor to make them into a fine crumb. (A side note here: I am not sure why when making bread crumbs you would be instructed to remove the crusts. This again just seems wasteful. Is it just for the color on the final product? That seems like a bad reason to toss the crust. Beyond that crusts had so much flavor. Since mine was challah it also had an egg wash and some of the sesame sees that topped it still on it. None of this was bad for the final product.
For the Crab Cakes:
- 1 Vidalia Onion, finely chopped
- 2 Garlic Cloves, mined
Warm a pan with a little Olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onions and garlic just until the onions start to caramelize. Set aside to cool.
- 12 ounces Lump Crab Meat
- 190 grams Fresh Bread Crumbs, (if using stale bread run through a food processor until it’s a fine crumb)
- 2 tablespoons Mayonaise
- 1 Egg White, lightly whisked until frothy
- Juice of a Lime
- ¼ cup Cilantro, chopped
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Add the rest of the ingredients into a large bowl stir well. Then add the onion mixture and stir to thoroughly combine. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge. You can do this a day or two in advance.
For the Chili Mayonnaise:
- 1 cup Mayonaise
- 1 Canned Chipotle, minced, plus 1 teaspoon of the adobo sauce
- Zest and Juice of a Lime
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
Mix up all the ingredients in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill. This can be made a day or two in advance.
Using a large scoop, spoon, or just by grabbing hunks of the mixture make 3 ounce balls and then carefully flatten in your hands squishing it together as you flattening to keep it from falling apart. I was able to make 10 cakes.
Heat a large frypan with olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot add the crab cakes. Cook for 3-4 minutes preside until it forms a nice crispy crust.
Serve over a bed of greens and with the chili mayonnaise.