Do you love crab cakes? One thing we’ve enjoyed experimenting over the last month or two have been crab cakes. They’re somewhat of a passion of ours. Living near the Chesapeake Bay means that our summer weekends are full of sunny days, cracking crabs. an abundance of sweet corn. Old Bay and the water. Its all incredibly exciting.
With all of that comes a serious love for Maryland-style crab cakes. A great crab cake doesn’t call for lots of ingredients, it has a ridiculous amount of sweet blue crabmeat and has very little filler.
How To Make The Best Crab Cake Recipe, Ever!
Use Jumbo Lump or Backfin Lump Crabmeat
So lump crabmeat is pretty expensive. That said, we really do believe that lump (preferably jumbo lump) crabmeat makes the absolute best crab cake. It was hard for us to take out our wallet at first, but once we realized 1 pound of crabmeat can make 6 generously sized crab cakes — or 24 mini crab balls — we were sold.
Oh, and don’t worry, nothing else called for in our recipe racks up the bill — it’s just saltine crackers and a few extras you probably already have in your fridge.
Saltine Crackers, Mayonnaise and an Egg Make a Great Binder
Around here, fillers and extras in crab cakes are a no-no. All the menus promise “no filler” crab cakes. In all honestly, you do need a little bit of filler so they stay together. We go for the absolute minimum, which is a glue made from crushed saltine crackers, mayonnaise and one egg. It works beautifully.
We start by tossing the lump crab meat with the crushed crackers. The crackers absorb extra moisture from the crab. Then, we make a mixture of mayonnaise. egg, mustard and some Worcestershire sauce and add it to the crab and cracker mixture. After a few stirs, the mixture is pretty loose. That’s why you see us sliding it into
the refrigerator. We keep it in there for an hour or so. The crackers continue to absorb the liquid and that glue I was talking about earlier forms.
After some time in the refrigerator, you can easily form the crab cakes. We like using a 1/2-cup measure to make 6 generous crab cakes, but you can make them slightly smaller and make 8 or make them donut-hole size for mini crab cakes (sometimes called crab balls).
How to Cook Them: Pan-Fried or Broiled?
Our local restaurants usually give us three options for how crab cakes can be cooked: fried, pan-fried and broiled. We never request fried, so we’re not going to spend time talking about that. We do, however, ask for pan-fried and broiled often.
Pan-fried crab cakes are wonderful — they’re dark golden brown and a little crispy on both sides. We love using our cast iron pan, which really helps get that golden brown sear.
Broiled crab cakes are also pretty delicious. We like to start with a hot pan on top of the stove until the underside of the crab cakes are golden brown. Then, we add a little dot of butter to the tops and broil until golden brown. The nice thing about broiling is that the cake is never pressed or squashed flat. The tops stay perfectly rounded.
Ask most Marylanders and they will have a preferred cooking method. If you don’t know which you prefer, try them both, you really can’t go wrong!
When we make crab cakes at home, we’ll always serve them with a lemon wedge, a little tarter sauce and if we’re feeling it, a touch of Old Bay Seasoning (just be careful, it’s pretty potent). Joanne loves turning her’s into a sandwich and I pretty much eat them out of the pan (I can’t help myself).
Are you ready to give Maryland-style crab cakes a try?
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