Easy Homemade Crab Cakes: A Quick Recipe for Busy Cooks – Seaco Online
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Easy Homemade Crab Cakes: A Quick Recipe for Busy Cooks

If you're a seafood lover, you've probably heard of crab cakes. This classic dish is a staple in Maryland cuisine and can be found in many seafood restaurants across the country. Crab cakes are made from lump crab meat mixed with a variety of ingredients, including mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and Old Bay seasoning. The mixture is then formed into patties and pan-fried until golden brown.

A mixing bowl filled with lump crab meat, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, and seasonings. A chef's hand gently forms the mixture into patties before frying them to a golden brown

Preparing the ingredients for crab cakes is a crucial step in creating a delicious dish. The quality of the crab meat is particularly important, as it is the star of the show. Fresh lump crab meat is the best option, but canned crab meat can also be used.

Other ingredients, such as breadcrumbs, eggs, and spices, should be measured carefully to ensure the right consistency and flavour. Once the ingredients are combined, the mixture should be refrigerated for at least an hour to allow the flavours to meld together.

Preparing the Ingredients

Fresh crab meat, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, mustard, and seasonings are laid out on a clean, organized kitchen counter for a crab cake recipeBefore you start making your crab cakes, it's important to prepare all the ingredients properly. Here are the steps you should follow:

Selecting the Crab Meat

The first step in making crab cakes is selecting the crab meat. You can use fresh lump crabmeat, canned crab meat or fresh crab meat. Fresh lump crabmeat is the best option as it has a sweet and delicate flavour. However, it can be expensive. Canned crab meat is a more affordable option, but it may not have the same flavour as fresh crab meat. Whatever type of crab meat you choose, make sure to pick through it and remove any bits of shell or cartilage.

Mixing the Binding Agents

Mayonnaise, egg and mustard are the binding agents that hold the crab cakes together. Mix these ingredients together in a bowl until they are well combined. You can use either Dijon or wholegrain mustard, depending on your preference.

Adding Seasoning and Flavour

To add flavour to your crab cakes, you can use a variety of ingredients such as Old Bay seasoning, panko, crackers, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt, black pepper, red onion, bell pepper, and celery.

Old Bay seasoning is a classic ingredient in crab cakes and gives them a distinctive flavour. Panko or crackers can be used to add texture to the crab cakes. Garlic, parsley, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce can be used to add a zesty flavour to the crab cakes. Salt, black pepper, red onion, bell pepper and celery can be used to add some savoury notes to the crab cakes.

Cooking and Serving

A chef prepares and serves crab cakes on a white plate with a side of fresh salad and a drizzle of aioli sauce

Forming and Refrigerating Patties

To form the perfect crab cake patties, use a 1/3 measuring cup to scoop the mixture and shape them into 3-inch wide cakes. Once you have formed the patties, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the patties to set.

Cooking on the Skillet or Oven

To cook the crab cakes, heat a skillet over medium heat and add a tablespoon of butter or olive oil. Alternatively, you can bake the crab cakes on a baking sheet or broil them in the oven. Coat the patties with breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs before cooking to get that crispy exterior.

When cooking on the skillet, cook the crab cakes for 5-6 minutes on each side or until golden brown. If you are baking the crab cakes, preheat the oven to 375°F and bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. If you prefer to broil them, place the patties on a broiler pan and broil for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Presentation and Accompaniments

When serving the crab cakes, garnish them with lemon wedges and serve with tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, or sweet pickle relish. You can also serve them with a fresh corn salad as a side dish. Crab cakes make great appetizers or main courses.

To make the perfect tartar sauce, mix together mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, hot sauce, and lemon juice. For cocktail sauce, mix together ketchup, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice.

Frequently Asked Questions

A chef mixing ingredients for a crab cake recipe in a bowl

What's the secret to a perfectly moist crab cake?

The secret to a perfectly moist crab cake is to use fresh crab meat and to avoid over-mixing the ingredients. Over-mixing can cause the crab meat to break down and become tough. Also, be sure to use just enough binder to hold the crab cake together without making it too dry.

How do you get crab cakes to stick together without them crumbling?

To get crab cakes to stick together without them crumbling, you need to use a binder such as mayonnaise, egg, or breadcrumbs. These ingredients help to hold the crab cake together and prevent it from falling apart. You can also chill the crab cakes in the fridge before cooking to help them hold their shape.

What are the core ingredients in a traditional crab cake?

The core ingredients in a traditional crab cake are fresh crab meat, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, egg, and seasonings such as Old Bay seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and parsley. Some recipes also include diced onion, celery, or red pepper.

Can you recommend a good side dish to complement crab cakes?

A good side dish to complement crab cakes is a fresh salad or coleslaw. You can also serve them with roasted vegetables such as asparagus, Brussels sprouts, or green beans. Another great option is to serve them with a side of garlic butter or tartar sauce.

What's the difference between baking and frying crab cakes, taste-wise?

Baking crab cakes results in a lighter, fluffier texture, while frying them produces a crispy, golden brown exterior. Taste-wise, baking and frying both produce delicious crab cakes, but frying adds a bit of extra richness and flavour.

How can I adapt my crab cake recipe for an air fryer?

To adapt your crab cake recipe for an air fryer, simply shape the crab cakes and place them in the air fryer basket. Lightly spray them with cooking spray and cook at 375°F for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through. This will result in crispy, golden brown crab cakes with a moist and tender interior.