These sweet yet salty crab cakes are every crab lovers dream. How many times have we gone to a shi-shi restaurant and hopefully ordered crab cakes which should be crunchy and buttery on the outside, pearly white, sweet but briny on the inside only to be served a couple of heavily doctored, gluey, deep-fried, fish-like patties? Gosh, I hate it when that happens. So many restaurants trash seafood, from overcooked tiles of fish or rubbery, heavily breaded fried shrimp to our loved crab. It was different when we were growing up here in Lauderdale. As a child, there wasn’t the selection of dining spots we now have available. Our grandfather, Grandpa, had moved here from Cleveland when our grandmother passed away. He, too, lived on the water and loved to throw out a dozen or so crab cages. Every two or three days he’d let me walk down to the canal with him and pull up the cages. Each cage had small, round floater tied with a piece of monofilament making it easy to haul up the cages and check our catch. Every crab cage had been baited with either pieces of mullet, their heads, bodies and tails, or raw chicken necks. I loved everything about it!
After strolling down to the water’s edge I would lie on my stomach on the dock while Grandpa pulled up the heavy metal cages. My job was to tell him if we had caught anything. If we had he’d continue pulling, if not he’d drop the heavy box back down to the muddy depths of the canal. Most of the time, though, there were sweet, luscious blue crabs. We’d throw our haul into waiting plastic buckets, always being careful not to get pinched, then walk back to his apartment where Grandpa would spend the rest of the morning picking the crabs. I wasn’t allowed because I guess my parents thought I’d cut myself with a knife…and I probably would have. The waters were clear back then and the meat that came out of those crabs was the sweetest I’ve ever had. Grandpa made a gorgeous crab salad and his bisque was magnificent.
I’m sharing with you my recipe for crab cakes. I think they’re fabulous and they taste of crab…nothing else. No crackers, mashed potatoes or breadcrumbs mixed in. No fillers here. The Panko crumbs and butter make a light and crispy coating allowing the crab meat to positively shine. Serve with a homemade remoulade sauce or simply with freshly cut lime wedges but either way I hope you enjoy them!
- 1 pound lump crab meat, picked over and cleaned, liquid squeezed out by hand
- 1 scallion, finely chopped
- 1/2 -1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs, unseasoned
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Place cleaned and drained crab meat gently in a medium size bowl.
- In a small bowl combine scallion, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper and egg. Mix well so all ingredients are completely combined.
- Pour egg mixture evenly over crab meat and gently toss crab by hand to combine but take care not to break up lumps of meat.
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour over the crab and toss carefully by hand to mix. Sprinkle the second tablespoon of flour, toss carefully and repeat with the remaining tablespoon of flour.
- Using a 1/3-cup measuring cup, scoop 6 firmly packed portions and place on a small baking sheet or dinner plate. Packing them firmly helps them to keep their shape.
- Place the Panko in a shallow bowl (I use a shallow soup bowl).
- Carefully place a crab cake in the bread crumbs, coat the top of the cake with Panko and gently pat into place. This will cause the bottom also to be covered with crumbs.
- Place back onto tray or plate and continue dredging all the crab cakes.
- Line a clean plate with paper towels to drain cooked crab cakes and set aside.
- Heat a large frying pan or skillet over medium heat with half the butter and half the olive oil.
- Place three of the cakes in the pan and cook until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Carefully turn each crab cake over, cover pan and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Transfer cooked crab cakes to the paper towel lined plate, add the remaining butter and olive oil to the pan and cook the other three crab cakes in the same manner.
- Serve immediately.