Easy and Elegant Crab Cakes

Easy and Elegant Crab Cakes

Fortunately for me, my fishmonger takes a vacation once a year. And the day before, they sell all of their fish at a 50% discount. Fresh fish just won’t last the week, you know.

With jumbo lump crab meat going for USD$30/lb., summer has found me a little, well crabby about the price of fixing what has always been a summer staple around here. But with that discount, a pound of crabmeat becomes more affordable. (You can always cut down the cost using backfin crabmeat, but jumbo lump can’t be beat.)

I’m generous with the crab cakes and can get four of them to a pound. Like barbeque, crab cake recipes are a matter of individual and even regional taste. In my opinion, they just aren’t the same unless the meat is from the Blue Crab.

So if you’re going to invest, I thought you might like the best recipe in the world to prepare yours. Like the blue crabs themselves, this recipe comes from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, from a place that was once little more than a shack at the end of a pier, The Oxford Carry Out.

Crab Cakes for Four

Mix:
2 tsp. of dry or wet mustard (I like Coleman’s Dry)
1 egg, beaten
1 heaping TBS. of mayonnaise
2 oz (3 slices of bread without the crust) bread cubed (Here’s where I deviate from the perfection of the original recipe: I use Panko breadcrumbs or a good organic hot cereal mix as I did this time.)
Salt, pepper, and fresh chopped parsley to taste.

Add into the bowl:
1 lb. of jumbo lump crabmeat.

Form the crab cakes by hand, handling as little as possible. Fry in oil or butter.

As a kid, I would eat sandwiches made with crabcakes, a hamburger bun, coleslaw and a pickle. They are still the perfect summer food.

This particular evening, I fried two and broiled two after spraying them with a butter flavoured cooking spray. The fried cakes broke up a bit (cook’s error on turning), but would have made easy and tasty sandwiches nonetheless. The broiled version looked much prettier and held together better. I served the crab cakes on a bed of roughly torn Romaine lettuce leaves with a splash of Balsamic Vinaigrette and freshly cracked pepper for a more elegant, if less traditional, presentation.

A word of warning, once you start making your own using this recipe, you will become very critical of those served at most restaurants. At current market prices, however, you would be paying about USD$30 a crabcake or more. Fortunately, they go great with cold beer.

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