My Favorite Crab Cakes

So last week I cooked whole dungeness crab. And when dinner was over, we had quite a bit of meat left so I froze it until I was ready to try my hand at a new crab cake recipe. Truth be told, crab cakes are like hollandaise sauce. No, they don’t taste similar, but they’re both divine and both difficult to master. But once you do … it’s awesome. It took me years of trial and error to get hollandaise right, BUT although I’ve discovered how to make great tasting crab cakes, I cannot quite seem to get the “binding” correct—because they always fall apart. Alas, having clarified butter to saute the “cakes” added to their divine flavor and without a doubt, this is my favorite combination of ingredients:

Crab Cakes with Clarified Butter

1 pound crabmeat

1 cup milk

1 and ½ cup panko breadcrumbs



Red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons butter

2 stalks celery

½ cup chopped onion

2-3 garlic cloves

2 eggs

¼ cup light mayonnaise

1 tsp Tabasco

1 tsp lemon juice

½ tsp Old Bay seasoning

4-6 tablespoons clarified butter

Put crabmeat into a bowl with milk making sure all of the meat is covered, place in fridge for about 15-20 minutes. Soaking crab in milk helps neutralize the amino acids that can cause and overwhelming fishy smell—it’s not necessary, but I know a lot of home cooks who swear by it.

Next, put breadcrumbs into a nonstick pan and “toast” over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Again, like soaking the crab in milk, it’s not necessary to “toast” the breadcrumbs, but I do think it gives the crab cakes a better flavor. Place toasted breadcrumbs into a shallow dish, add the red pepper flakes, Old Bay, and salt and pepper to your liking.

Strain refrigerated crabmeat and set aside.

Saute celery, onion and garlic in butter until browned and soft. Place in mixing bowl to cool. Once cooled to room temperature, add eggs, mayo and crabmeat. Stir softly. Make 1/2-inch thick patties and refrigerate, covered, for about 30 minutes. Next, dunk each crab cake into the panko mixture to coat well and place on a nonstick sheet. Heat clarified butter over medium high. Cook crab cakes for about 5 minutes a side, or until golden brown. Serve immediately, with sliced lemon or a garlic aioli or whatever floats your boat (wink, wink!). Enjoy! Makes 6-8 crab cakes.

Here’s another version of crab cakes that lets you finish them in the oven and uses canned crabmeat—I suggest trying out both ways and discover what you like best. Although honestly, I think once you cook with clarified butter, you will never go back to frying in oil. At least not for crab cakes.

A note about my recipes … most of what I cook isn’t a precise science. It’s look, taste and feel. And I encourage you to cook the same way. Add a little more of this, or a little less of that … and pay attention … and before long you’ll be a wiz at cooking seafood.

Coming up next week on the blog how to poach salmon and flatbread with crème fraîche and lox.

Want more from The Midwest Mermaid? Be sure to follow along here, and on Instagram for all the latest in seafood news and chews | @shaunanosler

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DISCLAIMER: I’m a writer and an editor. And I try my best to make sure every post is articulate and free from errors. However, being that I edit my own work—and it’s next to impossible to properly edit your own work—I admit, occasionally there may be an error or two I miss. But doing so doesn’t make me an idiot so don’t be mean. Just smile, pat yourself on the back for finding an error and be glad you’re not the only one who makes mistakes sometimes … yes, even mermaids slip up every now and then. xoxox

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Hey there. I’m Shauna—a West Coast transplant in the landlocked state of Indiana … when I moved here I missed the beaches, the mountains, the desert, the rivers … and it took me a while to find places nearby that paralleled my old stomping grounds. BUT. Now that I’ve lived here for over 15 years, I’ve had time to explore the region and you know what? It’s amazing. There’s so much to do—from skiing in northern Michigan to relaxing lakeside in southern Kentucky to rocking the nightlife in one of the many metropolitan areas. And I love it here. I really do. BUT. I do miss the sea … and the sand and the rush of the waves … the smell of seawater … even the sting of too much sun after a day spent lollygagging at the beach. And I miss the constant supply of seafood and shellfish and riverfish? About that … since I’ve moved to the Midwest I’ve noticed that a lot of people here don’t consider fish that come from the river seafood … I’m not sure I agree, but hence the new word I’ve created, “riverfish” … time will tell if Webster picks it up ; ) So my blog, Seafood is The New Black, is my way of bringing a little bit of sea life (or is it sealife?) to the Midwest. And over on Seafood in the Circle City, you can read up on my favorite Indianapolis restaurants that serve seafood, and serve it well. As you read along, you’ll find all kinds of information … some that you might find more useful than others—and some, you might just find amusing … or not. Either way, and if nothing else, I hope you leave my little space here on the world wide web a little refreshed and maybe even a little inspired to bring a little bit of the ocean home with you. (Yes, I did use the word “little” four times in one sentence … it’s OK … mermaids like to repeat themselves.) Cheers! The Midwest Mermaid Oh, and if your curious, yes, I do actually write for a living … if you want to know about the organizations I work with and the publications where you can find my land legs, swim on over to the “Portfolio” tab … and thanks for visiting.

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