So, the arrival of these Maryland crab cakes must mean I’m on a bit of a seafood kick this week, what with the sriracha cocktail sauce I posted the other day, but you know what?
Sorry not sorry, because I absolutely adore seafood.
I could probably eat it every day in one form or another, and because of this crustacean addiction, I’m always on the hunt for new ways to make my restaurant favorites at home. And today’s
And today’s latest culinary conquest?
Maryland style crab cakes.
I almost always order crab cakes as an appetizer (well, as long as shrimp cocktail isn’t available) and I’ve sampled just about every type there is, from heavy breading to heavy crab meat and heavy seasoning to heavy sauce. I appreciate them all in their own way, but I’ve definitely learned what my favorite types are… and also my not-so-favorites.
Now, I grew up with my mother making crab cakes at home, and they were okay – but they also had as much breading and seasoning as they did crab meat. I’ve found this to be pretty common (even from what you’d consider to be “fancy” restaurants), but over time I’ve found this isn’t my ideal way to enjoy a crab cake. I prefer crab cakes that are heavy on the crab meat and heavy on the delicious sauces. This is also a little ironic, since this is probably the only time an old friend of mine and I agree on the preparation of a meaty dish.
Usually I’m the one clamoring to add fillers and spices to our food, but in this case, I guess I just love the taste of crab meat too much to cover it up.
Another perk of this recipe:
It gives me a new use for my cast iron skillet!
I’ve been trying to use it more lately, and what better use is there for it than to sizzle some delicious crab meat?
These crab cakes ended up being exactly how I love them in the restaurant: flavorful and slightly crunchy with the crab meat itself being the star of the dish. Most importantly, it didn’t taste like I was eating a bunch of breading (or “crab bread,” as I’ve come to think of it). The breading was almost an afterthought, which to me is the best type of crab cake. There should only be enough breading to hold the crab cake’s shape – any more than that and you’ve lost the taste of the crab.
So as for how this recipe turned out? If you truly love the taste of crab meat like I do, then this is probably the only type of crab cake you can appreciate.
Final note: Now that I’ve found a quality crab cake recipe, I’ll probably be making it every week.
Or every other day.
Or maybe I should just give in and head to the store right now.
notes & tips for these Maryland style crab cakes
- I highly recommend you purchase fresh crab meat from a deli for this recipe. Yes, it will be a bit more expensive than canned crab meat. Yes, you might even have a little trouble finding a deli that carries it (I had to check two stores before I found some). But if you’re going to make a quality crab cake, this recipe deserves the extra effort and taste that only comes from fresh crab meat. It will make a world of difference in the taste.
- Wondering why I don’t recommend canned crab meat? Mainly because in order to preserve it, the meat is loaded with salt. This is a necessary evil with all canned foods, and at the end of the day, it won’t impact the flavor too much – but it will still be a factor. If all you have on hand is canned crab meat, I would recommend increasing the breading in this recipe. I know, I know, I just spent a whole essay saying how crab cakes are better with less breading, but when using canned crab meat, a little extra breading will help mask the taste of salt. You can double the breading recipe and then use as much as you like.
- If you don’t already own a trusty piece of cast iron, I highly recommend picking one up. A good piece of cast iron will last you ages. I still use (and love!) this reasonably priced 10-inch cast iron skillet.
- Many will tell you that cast iron is hard to take care of, but I think the biggest challenge is just knowing how to do it. This post about the truth about cast iron has some great tips and tutorials!
- In the mood for more seafood? Be sure to check out Sriracha Cocktail Sauce, Seafood Gnocchi with White Wine Cream Sauce, Seafood Stuffed Avocados, Garlic and Dill Seafood Bake, Spanish Chorizo, Shrimp, and Chicken Paella, Shrimp Scamp with Linguine, Honey Garlic Shrimp and Broccoli, Creamy Pesto Shrimp Pasta, and Italian Shrimp Bake.
Maryland Crab Cakes with Beurre Blanc
If you love the "crab" in Maryland style crab cakes, then this is the recipe for you: minimal breading and a light sauce makes the crab meat the star of this dish.
For the Maryland Style Crab Cakes
- Drain crab meat and place in a medium bowl. Break it up with your fingers and pick out any shells.
Place crushed crackers and chives in the bowl with the crab meat and toss to mix.
In a separate bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, egg, dijon mustard, Old Bay seasoning, and worcestershire sauce. Pour sauce in bowl with the crab meat and mix together thoroughly.
Cover bowl and chill crab mix for 3 hours. When crab cakes are almost done chilling, make the Beurre Blanc (instructions below).
Remove bowl from the refrigerator. Using your hands, mix crab meat a final time, then scoop out and form 6 large crab cakes. Set aside.
Preheat oven to broil on high. Make sure there's a rack placed 6-8 inches from the top.
In a 10-inch cast iron skillet (or other oven-safe skillet), add canola oil and warm over medium heat.
- Add crab cakes to skillet and cook until the underside of the crab cakes are golden brown. This takes about 5-8 minutes, but be sure to check each crab cake every minute to be sure none are cooking too fast.
Remove pan from heat. Add 1 piece of sliced butter on top of each crab cake, then place pan in the heated oven on the top rack.
- Broil crab cakes for 6-8 minutes or until the tops are browned to desired doneness. Keep a close eye on crab cakes so they don't burn.
- Serve crab cakes immediately on a bed of Beurre Blanc sauce (instructions below).
For the Beurre Blanc
In a saucepan over medium heat, bring white wine, white wine vinegar, and shallots to a boil until the liquid is syrupy and is reduced to about 1-2 tbsp (roughly 5 minutes).
- Add heavy cream, salt, and white pepper to saucepan and boil for 1 additional minute.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and add butter to saucepan a few pieces at a time, whisking constantly, until all butter has been melted. Cook for an additional 1-3 minutes or until desired sauce thickness is reached.
Pour sauce through a sieve to remove shallots.
Pour sauce through a sieve to remove & discard shallots, then transfer finished Beurre Blanc to a serving bowl.