We first learned how to make crab cakes on a family vacation to the Outer Banks, NC. My husband's brother-in-law had just graduated from culinary school and taught us several incredible recipes the week we vacationed with them. One of our absolute favorites was his crab cakes. We make them quite often, and they are one of the most requested meals when we have people over or host a gathering.
I have to give credit where it is due: My husband is actually the one who has perfected these- it is his signature dish you could say. Like my pulled pork BBQ is mine, this is his. (No, the pork recipe has not been shared on the blog).
This is such a versatile dish- we have made mini crab cakes as appetizers for holiday gatherings, larger ones for sandwiches or to eat plain as a main dish with veggies on the side... the possibilities are truly endless. They are good anytime of year, for any sort of gathering.
For tonight we used Bumblebee canned lump crab meat. We always have some on hand and it works very well in this dish. Plus, it is much more affordable than getting lump crab meat from a fish market. However, during the summer and especially when we go to the beach, we buy fresh crab meat- and it is so good! But the canned works just as well.
Tonight, since we ate them as the main meat entree, we had sauteed kale with garlic and tomatoes, and oven baked potato crisps as our side dishes. I will share the recipes for the entire meal here in this post, and I will also post the kale recipe separate as a side dish.
Crab cakes: Ingredients: (Makes 4 crab cakes)
2 cans Bumblebee lump crab meat, drained
1/4 cup Panko Bread crumbs plus, more for dredging
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
**Sometimes we add in an egg (1 per 2 cans of crab meat) to help the mixture stay together better. We had just run out (our fresh egg pickup isn't until next week) but these can be made without egg. Great for those with egg allergies. If you are going use an egg, add it before the mayonnaise.**
1.Drain crab meat and pour into a mixing bowl
2. Add about 1/4 cup of regular mayonnaise. (Our preferred brand for taste and texture is Hellmann's.)
You want the consistency to be moist, bordering on wet. The crab meat should all stick together, but not in a lumpy form.
3. Add in about 1/4 cup of the Panko Breadcrumbs, slowly stirring them in.
4. Add them until you reach a sticky consistency, where it is starting to lump up.
5. Add in the cayenne pepper- about 1/8 teaspoon. Add less if you don't like it too spicy, more if you want them hot.
David recommends adding the spice in with the mayonnaise, but you can add it at any point.
6.Add oil to either a cast iron skillet (recommended) or other heavy saute pan. It's important that it is a heavy pan because you need the oil to heat evenly and slowly. You want enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan, and have it about 1/4 of the depth of the crab cake patty.
DO NOT USE OLIVE OIL- It smokes at low temperatures.
7.Form the crab cakes into the patty size you desire.
and coat them in Panko Breadcrumbs:
8.Put the cakes into the warm oil and let brown on both sides.
9. Once browned on both sides, place in a oven safe baking pan and bake at about 400F for 5-10 minutes. I line the pan with foil for easy clean up.
We also make a sauce to go along with these:
Mayo, Grey Poupon Mustard, and 1 clove garlic, pressed.
No measurements, just equal parts.
Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Tomatoes:
1/2 bag Kale
1 large tomato, chopped ( or you can use cherry tomatoes, I didn't have any)
3 cloves garlic, pressed
Extra Virgin Olive Oil- about 2 Tablespoons
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Blanch the kale before you saute it- I let it cook until it wilts.
2. Heat oil in a saute pan. Add garlic and tomatoes and cook until the garlic becomes fragrant- just a minute or two.
3. Add the wilted kale to the tomatoes and garlic. Mix well, and cook together for a few minutes.
Oven Baked Potato Crisps:
I wanted to use my new mandoline slicer tonight, so I decided to make oven potato crisps. These are super simple:
You just need:
3 russet potatoes, sliced thinly
cooking spray- to coat the pan
spice(s) of your choice, I chose smoked paprika.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 425F.
Line baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
Toss potatoes with olive oil and place in single layer on sheet.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and the spice(s) of your choice. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until they are slightly browned and crispy.
For the last 5 minutes or so, broil them to get them crispy if needed.
All put together dinner tonight looked like this:
We paired tonight's dinner with a nice, chilled Reisling (if you like wine)
*Recipe adapted from Andy Parsons