With a loud crack to break through the hard shell, the sweet meat waiting inside is revealed. Summer simply wouldn’t be the same without picking at least one batch of crabs. Since I was a little girl, I’ve caught them, killed them, cleaned them and cooked them. Many lack the patience to extract the succulent meat from the hardshells of the blue crab. But I can sit for hours finding every last bit of meat and barely even touching my beer. Admittedly, it’s a lot of work with usually some minor shell-related injuries for a little pile of crab.
So when you’re in the mood for a crab cake, buy a container of lump meat instead and save yourself the trouble. Many recipes add corn or peppers, claiming it adds texture when it’s usually a way to use less crab and have more portions. In this one, it’s all about the crab. For added flavor and heat, serve with wasabi aioli or a remoulade sauce.
Pan-Fried Crab Cakes
8 oz of premium lump crabmeat
1 tbsp of mayo (Hellmann’s preferably)
1 tbsp of dijon mustard (preferably with seeds)
1/4 cup of onion or scallion, thinly diced
1/4 tsp of fresh parsley, thinly chopped
1/8 tsp of Old Bay
1/8 tsp of cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp of panko bread crumbs
3 tbsps of butter or 1 and 1/2 tbsps of bacon drippings
Pick through the crab to remove any shells. Combine the mayo, mustard, onions, parsley and seasonings. Add the crab. Mix through trying not to break up the lumps. Add the bread crumb and yolk to combine. (If it’s too wet, add more bread crumbs; too dry, add more mayo.) Form 2 large crab cakes or 4 small, if you prefer. (You can also easily double this recipe.) Preheat the pan over medium high and add 2 tbsps of butter or bacon drippings. (I had just made some bacon, so I used the same pan to cook the crab cakes. It was delicious, not greasy or bacon-flavored. Just remove most of the grease and leave enough to cover the pan with a little extra.)
When the pan is hot, add the crab cakes and let them get a nice golden coating (if they start to brown too much, turn the heat down.) After about 4 minutes, flip and add the remaining butter, if using. Cook for another 4 minutes until golden brown on both sides and heated through. Serve with Wasabi Aioli.*
With the leftover egg white, you can make a Pisco Sour. Combine 4 oz of Pisco, 1 tbsp of lime juice, 1 tbsp of simple syrup and 1 egg white in a cocktail shaker. Add a few ice cubes to fill. Shake. Pour into a glass, spooning froth on top. Top with a dash of fresh, ground cinnamon or bitters.
* Wasabi Aioli
In a medium bowl, combine 1 tube (1.52 oz) of wasabi paste (if not at your local grocer, you can find it at Asian markets), 1/2 cup of mayo (preferably Hellmann’s), 1 clove of minced garlic and 1 tbsp of water. Stir to combine well. Can be made in advance and keeps for weeks, if it lasts that long.