Why This Works: Crab cakes always seem fancy even though they’re simple to make. They taste decadent and luxurious but are not overly rich unless you go crazy with the side sauce.
Plus the simple treatment leaves you plenty of time to prepare the rest of your meal, light the candles, and get dressed to impress.
The Playlist: Hunger for Love by Crabby Appleton. The song title and band name were just too perfect a confluence of elements NOT to pair it with this recipe post. And as it turns out, they sound pretty great in an early 70s Argent/Spirit sort of way. Can you dig it?
I will acknowledge that we overcooked our crab cakes by just a minute or two. As you can see in the photos, they turned out more brown than golden. They still tasted wonderful though, so if this happens when you cook your special dinner just dim the lights. Ambiance, doncha know.
This is a perfect example of the freshness of the ingredients making an enormous difference in the overall quality of the dish. Get your crab from a reliable source, such as a specialized fish market or the fish counter at a high-end grocery store. I do not recommend using canned crab.
Flexibility is a factor too. Crab cakes can be served in multiple sizes: a small two-bite treat as a cocktail hors d'oeuvre; slightly bigger with a dipping sauce or two as a sit-down appetizer course; or even an entree – larger patties served on a bed of greens with a rich sauce drizzled over. Mmmm.
Recipe source: Andrew Zimmern’s Kitchen Adventures via Food & Wine
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, picked over
- 20 saltine crackers, finely crushed
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the egg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce until smooth.
- In a medium bowl, lightly toss the crab meat with the cracker crumbs. Gently fold in the mayonnaise mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Scoop the crab mixture into eight 1/3-cup mounds; lightly pack into 8 patties, about 1 1/2 inches thick.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the crab cakes and cook over moderately high heat until deeply golden and heated through, about 3 minutes per side.
- Transfer the crab cakes to plates and serve with lemon wedges.
- Optional: Make a dipping sauce combining a couple tablespoons of mayonnaise with a few drops of hot sauce. Mix, taste, and adjust until you’re happy with the flavor.
- MAKE AHEAD: The crab cakes can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight.