Chesapeake Bay Classic Crab Cakes

The traditional crabmeat to use in these Chesapeake Bay cakes is East Coast blue crab. If you live on the West Coast, this recipe works just fine with Dungeness, but you will probably need to squeeze out the excess liquid. If your Dungie tastes salty, you may want to omit the salt in the recipe because there’s already salt in the Old Bay Seasoning. (If you can’t get fresh crab, try the pasteurized crab sold in the refrigerated case of your supermarket or fish store, which is NOT to be confused with shelf-stable canned crab that is NOT refrigerated.) Traditionally, these cakes are served with tartar sauce, but I prefer the tangy zip of green or red cocktail sauce to offset their creaminess.

Chesapeake Bay Classic Crab Cakes

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  • Prep Time

    minutes

  • Total Time

    minutes

  • Servings

    servings


Ingredients

  • Makes 8 large crab cakes

  • Ingredients:

  • 1

    large egg yolk

  • 1

    tbsp Old Bay Seasoning

  • 1

    tbsp Dijon mustard

  • ½

    tsp grated lemon zest

  • tsp fresh lemon juice

  • tsp cider vinegar

  • ½

    cup peanut or canola oil

  • ¼

    tsp kosher salt

  • ¼

    tsp freshly ground black pepper

  • 1

    tbsp minced scallions, both white and green parts

  • 1

    lb lump blue crabmeat, drained and picked clean of shell

  • 4

    cups fresh bread crumbs

  • ¼

    cup chopped parsley

  • 4

    About 4 tbsp unsalted butter

  • Red Cocktail Sauce

  • Green Cocktail Sauce

  • 4

    lemon wedges

Directions

Method: Put the egg yolk, Old Bay, mustard, lemon zest and juice, and vinegar in the bowl of a food processor or a blender and process until smooth. Gradually pour in the oil with the machine running until the mixture emulsifies and forms a mayonnaise. Season with the salt and pepper. (Note: This quantity of mayonnaise will not emulsify in the bowl of the largest food processor. Use a medium food processor, a mini processor, or a blender.) Transfer the mayonnaise to a bowl and, using a rubber spatula, fold in the scallions and the crabmeat until well combined. Combine the bread crumbs and the parsley in a shallow container. Form the crab mixture into 8 patties about 3 inches wide and ¾ inch thick and drop them into the bread crumb-parsley mixture. Dredge the crab cakes on both sides. If you have time, leave the crab cakes in the container of bread crumbs, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for an hour or more. 2/ When you are ready to fry the crab cakes, put 2 large nonstick skillets over medium heat. Add about 2 tablespoons butter to each pan. When the butter is melted, add 4 crab cakes to each pan, patting off excess crumbs first. Slowly fry the crab cakes until they are golden brown on both sides and hot through, turning once with a spatula, about 4 minutes per side. If the crab cakes are browning too quickly, reduce the heat. The internal temperature of a cooked crab cake should be 155 F on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the crab cakes to plates, 2 per person, and serve with your choice of sauce and lemon wedges. From: I Love Crab Cakes! by Tom Douglas Published by William Morrow, 2006 Re-printed with permission Broadcast on CBC Radio’s North by Northwest Cooking Club www.cbc.ca/bc/cookingclub Old Bay Seasoning The classic Chesapeake Bay seasoning blend for steaming blue crabs contains celery seeds, bay leaves, mustard, red pepper, and ginger, among other flavours. The name “Old Bay” is now owned by McCormick brand. Bread Crumbs, Fresh and Dried Method I make fresh bread crumbs from supermarket white sandwich bread. Tear the bread into pieces (no need to remove the crusts since they’re so tender) and process to fine crumbs in a food processor. Two slices of white sandwich bread make about 2 cups crumbs. Red Cocktail Sauce Yields: Approximately 1 cup Ingredients 1 cup ketchup or chili sauce, such as Heinz 1 tbsp + 2 tsp prepared horseradish 2 dashes Tabasco Method Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. 3/ Green Cocktail Sauce Yields: Approximately 2/3 cup Ingredients 8 oz tomatillos, husked, rinsed, dried, and quartered 2 tbsp rice vinegar 1 tbsp sugar 2 tsp green Tabasco 1 tsp chopped garlic 1 tsp mustard seeds, toasted 1 tsp peeled and grated fresh horseradish Method Put the tomatillos in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely pureed. Remove the tomatillo puree to a sieve, drain off the liquid, and discard. Put the drained puree in a bowl and stir in the vinegar, sugar, green Tabasco, garlic, mustard seeds, and horseradish.


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