I have to take off my shoes to count the number of years I have been making these crab cakes. They are near the top of the list of comfort food requests in our house, mostly when we’re nostalgic for warmer weather and Southern charm.
Adapted almost two decades ago from a recipe for ones we first tasted at Fulton’s Crab House, they are at once decadent and very easy to prepare They are also, however, delicate to handle. So fragile, in fact, that they are baked, not fried (they could never stand up to the rough and tumble of a hot pan). These are so heavy with crab meat that I find two small cakes (with a little coleslaw on the side for a bright, crunchy contrast to the richness of the crab) is plenty for one person. It pays to buy the best crab meat you can find. Dungeness is great. Here’s how to prepare the meat if you’re using live crabs.
And, even though I have made them dozens of times, I still hauled out the recipe when L suggested crab cakes for her birthday dinner the other day – once a dish has garnered the comfort food label in our house, it must never be changed. The older some things get, the more you like them just the way they are.
(adapted from Fulton’s Crab House)
1 lb lump crab meat
3/4 cups unsalted soda crackers, crumbled
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning*
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoon melted butter
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1/2 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cups sour cream
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
pinch of white pepper
Preheat oven to 425 F
Combine egg, mayonnaise, Old Bay* and mustard in a large bowl and add cracker crumbs, mixing well. Using a piece of cheesecloth, squeeze excess water from crab meat (to help them stay together) and gently fold crab meat into to mixture. Form into patties approximately 1 inch think. Refrigerate the cakes for 20 minutes (or longer) to help the egg set up (they will hold together better)
Place on a cookie sheet, drizzle some melted butter on each cake and bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
Combine sauce ingredients until smooth, spoon over hot crab cakes and serve with a wedge of lemon.
*If you don’t have Old Bay you can make your own seasoning, below (also great for fish or chicken)
Crab cake seasoning
1/2 tablespoon ground bay leaves
1 teaspoon celery salt
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper flakes
Pinch teaspoon ground mace
Grind all ingredients in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Store in spice jar.