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The Best Crab Cakes

Serves 3 to 4 as a main dish, 6 to 8 as an appetizer

Crab cakes used to be a mystery to me. With few exceptions, the ones I ordered out were loaded with so much stuffing and seasoning you could not taste the crab. Actually, the taste and texture were more like poultry stuffing. So I started to make them myself, and what a difference. This is based on a Jeff Smith recipe. It is a quick, easy and delicious seafood appetizer or main dish. I guarantee you will taste the crab. Although these are relatively healthy as is, see the notes below for a few alternatives. Either way, the red pepper sauce in the related links is the perfect complement to the crab. You will only need half of that recipe to serve with this dish. For a variation, try the lobster cakes, which is also in the similar recipes links.

Crab Cakes Recipe Photo

Beat the eggs in a medium-sized bowl. Add the parsley, mustard, Worcestershire, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and pepper; mix well to combine. Gently fold in the crab meat and fresh crumbs until well combined. (The mixture will be very moist. If it is wet, add a few more fresh breadcrumbs.) Divide the mixture into 6 to 8 portions; flatten gently into thick patties. (Packing the mixture into 1/3-cup measure for each cake will ensure even portions and yield seven cakes. For more or less cakes, use a slightly smaller or larger cup.) Lightly coat the top and bottom of each patty with panko crumbs. If possible, refrigerate for 30 minutes before sautéing to help the cakes hold together.

Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough butter and oil to generously cover the bottom. Add the crab cakes, in batches if necessary, and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. (Be gentle when turning the crab cakes as they are somewhat fragile.) Remove from the pan and drain on a baking rack set on a baking sheet. Serve immediately, with or without the sauce or lemon wedges.

Notes: If you want to make these healthier without compromising flavor, replace one of the whole eggs with two egg whites. Use light or canola mayonnaise. I always use whole wheat fresh breadcrumbs, and I often use whole wheat panko. Finally, use a nonstick skillet and fry the cakes in just a little canola oil. The recipe can easily be cut in half or doubled as needed. Cooked crab cakes can be kept warm in a 200° F oven while waiting for others to sauté.