Maryland Crab Cakes

Maryland Crab Cakes - No fryer needed for crisp edges and classic crab cake flavor. Packed with tender chunks of meat, this meal is elegant enough for special occasions yet easy enough for a busy weeknight.

Crisp edges with no fryer? Prep-ahead convenience AND classic crab cake flavor? This recipe covers all those bases with ease, making it ideal for entertaining yet easy enough for a special meal on a busy weeknight.

 

 

We have some die-hard crab fans in our family.  The perfect summer evening could very well involve sitting out on the patio, cracking hard shell crabs until the sun has gone down.

But what happens when hard shells aren’t in season (or we don’t feel like working so hard for our dinner!) and we still crave those tender chunks of meat?

Enter the perfect crab cake!

Several months ago, Jon, my editor at LNP and fellow crab cake enthusiast shared his go-to recipe, one that he’s made countless times to the great delight of his whole family.

His recipe was almost identical to the one I’ve used for ages - and had photographed YEARS ago and never shared! ⇩⇩

Maryland Crab Cakes - broiled not fried and so darn good!

Jon mentioned that he used to order crab cakes all the time at restaurants. But now he never does - thanks to this recipe.

He also said he’s not much of a cook. Yet he pulls these off with great success time and time again.

Crab cakes have become his go-to recipe for special occasions. And significantly, when his younger daughter comes home to visit, her request is simple: Dad’s crab cakes.

Before becoming the crab cake chef that he now is, Jon thought the perfect crab cake recipe was “a mysterious thing, shrouded in secrecy.”

But as he pointed out, it’s really “a simple thing, elemental in design and flavor.” With its crispy edges and tender meat, the glamorous appeal of a perfectly cooked crab cake belies the utter ease of preparation.

Maryland Crab Cakes - No fryer needed for crisp edges and classic crab cake flavor. Packed with tender chunks of meat, this meal is elegant enough for special occasions yet easy enough for a busy weeknight.

How best to prepare?

Broiling is a far healthier option than frying and the crab cakes can be every bit as delicious. You do need to monitor the broiler to avoid burning, but I still think it’s a far easier (and less messy) option to frying.

Why broil and not bake?

Baking will cook your crab cakes but they won’t get as crispy as broiling them will.

If your broiler has a low broil setting, use it. It will help the crab cakes cook through while they’re browning, not burning. If your oven only has a high broil setting, you can simply move the crab cakes to the center rack.

Cocktail or tartar sauce?

I’ve made a variety of sauces over the years but return again and again to the simple cocktail sauce mentioned in the recipes notes. You could certainly use your favorite purchased tartar or cocktail sauce, but this offers the convenience of working with what you may already have on hand.

More tips:

  • For nicely shaped cakes with flat tops that encourage even broiling, I liberally fill my 1/2 cup measuring cup, press firmly (but see next tip), and then tap out the crab cake onto the baking sheet.
  • Avoid packing the cakes too tightly. You want them to cook evenly through the center, and packing too tightly can cause the middles to seem soggy.
  • Once the cakes are forms, cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour before baking. This helps them firm up and stick together with minimal filler.
  • Recipe is easy to double.
  • Bite-size cakes make a lovely appetizer and cook quickly.
  • If you make more than you need for one meal, the leftover crab cakes taste just as good (maybe better!) the following day.
  • Crab cake sandwiches are a fun serving option.
Maryland Crab Cakes - No fryer needed for crisp edges and classic crab cake flavor. Packed with tender chunks of meat, this meal is elegant enough for special occasions yet easy enough for a busy weeknight.

Pictured in these photos is Roasted Delicata Squash & Pomegranate Salad. My favorite part of that salad is undoubtedly the Pumpkin Maple Vinaigrette, which makes so many fall and winter salads really shine.

Maryland Crab Cakes - No fryer needed for crisp edges and classic crab cake flavor. Packed with tender chunks of meat, this meal is elegant enough for special occasions yet easy enough for a busy weeknight.

This recipe doesn’t just taste great - it’s light and healthy and so very easy.  It is also perfect for entertaining as you can prepare the crab cakes in advance and then give them a quick broil just before serving.

Maryland Crab Cakes - No fryer needed for crisp edges and classic crab cake flavor. Packed with tender chunks of meat, this meal is elegant enough for special occasions yet easy enough for a busy weeknight.

Crab cakes are equal parts elegant and easy!

Maryland Crab Cakes
Yield: 4 large crab cakes
Prep-ahead convenience and classic crab cake flavor cooked in the broiler, not the fryer!
Ingredients

• 1 pound crabmeat (lump if possible; pour off and discard any liquid)

• 1/4 cup (52g) mayonnaise

• 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (I use curly; could use flat)

• 2 tablespoons (30ml) fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon), plus wedges, if desired, for serving

• 1 large egg

• 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

• 1/2 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning

• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 1/2 cup (40g) fine saltine crumbs (from about 15 crackers; I’ve also used gluten-free matzo crumbs)

• 2 tablespoons (28g) melted butter

• Optional for serving: cocktail* or tartar sauce

Instructions

1. Preheat the broiler to low, with the rack 4 inches from the heat. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, parsley, lemon juice, egg, mustard, Old Bay, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

3. Add the crumbs and crabmeat to the mayonnaise mixture; stir to combine. Form into four cakes. Hint: For nicely shaped cakes with flat tops that encourage even broiling, I liberally fill my 1/2 cup measuring cup, press firmly, and then tap out the crab cake onto the baking sheet. Each cake will be just over 5 1/2 ounces. Make ahead tip for best results: At this point place on the prepared baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least an hour before baking. This helps them firm up and stick together with minimal filler.

4. Place the crab cakes on the prepared baking sheet, and brush all over the tops and sides with  the melted butter. Broil on low for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown and warmed throughout (IMPORTANT: watch carefully and move to a lower rack if the tops brown too quickly. Oven broilers vary greatly and you don’t want to burn the crab cakes.) If desired, serve with cocktail or tartar sauce and lemon wedges.

Notes

My speedy cocktail sauce: In a small bowl mix together 1/4 cup ketchup, 1 tablespoon horseradish (or to taste), a dash of Worcestershire and a light squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

 

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Comments

  1. Dorothy

    Thank you, Ann! My favorite food to order when going to the restaurant which is noted for crab cakes! Can’t wait to try this recipe and have the family members come who also cherish this dish!

    Reply