Who doesn’t love crab cakes? Hot and crispy on the outside with tender, sweet morsels of crab inside, mixed with tangy relish and vegetables and delicately seasoned with just the right amount of spice. Add a creamy, zesty tartar sauce, oven-baked French fries and coleslaw, and for me, this is a meal made in heaven.
Over the years, I’ve even dreamed about the perfect job, traveling the world and eating, in search of the perfect crab cake.
Preparation of crab cakes can be tricky, and loaded with fat. Too many times my cakes have crumbled and dinner was an oily, sticky mess that I attempted to sell my family as “crab hash.”
The recipe for Maine Crab Cakes is one I’ve used several times with great success. An adaptation from Eating Well magazine, the original recipe calls for the cake to be baked in a muffin tin. This solves the challenge of the cakes disintegrating while frying, but doesn’t quite yield the crispy coating I like. By dividing the breadcrumbs in half and dredging the batter in the remaining crumbs, you have a cake that can be gently browned on both sides, and then finished in a hot oven.
To increase the nutritional value and the flavor, use freshly prepared breadcrumbs from whole grain bread. With a pound of crabmeat, this recipe can easily be doubled and feed a crowd. The cakes may be prepared in advance, and even frozen. For a quick lunch, reheat them in toaster oven and enjoy.
Maine Crab Cakes
- 1/2 pound Maine crabmeat
- 1 cup freshly made, whole wheat bread crumbs, divided *
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup Thai Cucumber Relish finely chopped or green onions & red pepper
- 1 tablespoon horseradish (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
- Fresh pepper to taste
- Canola Oil for greasing pan
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
To prepare in muffin tin
- Generously grease a six-cup muffin tin. In a medium bowl, combine the Maine crabmeat, breadcrumbs, egg, mayonnaise and chopped relish. Stir in the horseradish and celery salt. Season to taste with fresh pepper. Divide the mixture evenly between the muffin cups. Bake until cooked through and crispy, about 20 minutes. Serve with a lemon wedge and tartar sauce.
For a more traditional preparation
- In a medium bowl, combine the Maine crabmeat, ½ cup breadcrumbs, egg, mayonnaise and chopped relish. Stir in the horseradish and celery salt. Season to taste with fresh pepper. Using a scoop or measuring cup, divide the batter into 6 portions. It will be fragile, but should stick together. In a shallow pan, add the remaining ½ cup breadcrumbs. Dredge each crab portion in the crumbs on both sides, flatten them slightly. Heat an ovenproof pan on top of the stove. Brown the crab cakes on each side, and then place the pan in the preheated 450-degree oven. Bake until set and crispy, about 15 minutes.
- *To prepare 1-cup fresh breadcrumbs: Tear 3 slices of whole wheat bread into pieces. Process in the bowl of your food processor until a coarse crumb is formed. Stale bread makes excellent breadcrumbs. Freeze them for quick and easy use in recipes.