Crab Cakes With Spicy Mayonnaise
From Maryland's Eastern Shore Traditions
- Servings: 8 two-inch crab cakes or 10 to 12 mini-cakes.
These crab cakes are made with crab that has been removed from the shells and steam cooked. You can find this kind of crab at any good fishmonger and also in many major markets, including Whole Foods. It's best to use less expenisve lump crabmeat -- not jumbo lump -- because the smaller pieces will holder together better, while the more expensive jumbo lump crabmeat causes the finished cakes to fall apart more easily. I've tried making these with canned crabmeat but the result is mealy, with little flavor; if you prefer to use canned seafood, you'd be better off using canned salmon and avoiding canned crabmeat altogether.
This recipe comes from the traditions of Maryland's Eastern Shore, home to arguably the best crabmeat in the country. But using Japanese panko crumbs instead of the usual bread or cracker crumbs lightens their texture and reduce the amount of salt that's almost always dominant in store-bought saltines or bread crumbs.
You can make the crab mixture in advance and chill it until ready to sauté. Then just form the cakes and cook just before serving. You can make the cakes in any size, including tiny, 1-inch cakes that make excellent hors d'oeuvres. Crab cakes also make luxurious open-faced sandwiches when served on slices of toasted buttery brioche bread with a dab of spicy mayonnaise and are a treat for Sunday brunch.
Because of crab's sweet and briny taste, I like to serve it with other dishes that have vibrant flavor. This could be as simple as slices of in-season tomatoes and corn on the cob, or a crunchy and vinegary slaw.
- For The Crabcakes:
- 1 egg
- 2 Tablespoons good mayonnaise (I like Hellman's traditional or reduced fat)
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
- 4 to 6 drops of Tabasco sauce
- 1 pound (16 oz.) backfin lump crabmeat, picked over for shells
- 1/2 cup panko crumbs
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil for sautéing
- For The Spicy Mayonnaise:
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise, either home-made or good store-bought
- 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce or other hot sauce, or more to taste
- In a mixing bowl, combine the egg, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, ground pepper, Old Bay seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco. Whisk until completely combined.
- Place the crabmeat in a bowl and pour the egg mixture over the crab. Sprinkle the panko crumbs on top and using a fork, gently toss together, taking care to not break up the lumps of crabmeat.
- Use a soupspoon or small ice cream scoop to measure about 1/4 cup of the crab mixture, forming the cakes by hand into 2-inch wide, 1-inch thick patties without compressing the cakes too firmly.
- Place a large skillet over medium high heat, add the oil and heat until the oil shimmers. Sauté the crab cakes, a few at a time so that you don't crowd the pan, until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes a side.
- Remove to a plate lined with paper towels.
- Serve immediately.
- To make the spicy mayonnaise, mix the hot sauce with the mayonnaise. Taste and adjust for seasoning.