Crab Cakes with Creamy Chipotle Sauce

Crab cakes should be crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. But the most important criteria for a good crab cake is the ratio of crab to bread crumbs.

The reason I like this crab cake recipe is that it focuses on the jumbo lump crab and limits the amount of filler. Bread crumbs are necessary to bind the crab mixture, but too many recipes (and restaurants) over do it. I want to bite into real crab meat…not a stuffing mixture with a hint of crab.

The crab that I use comes from Costco and runs a very reasonable $18 for a one pound can. It’s moist, has a nice crab flavor and is about as convenient as it gets.

To shape the crab cakes, I use a medium (2 1/2 inch) biscuit cutter. This ensures that each cake is consistent in size and also helps shape the loose mixture. With a medium biscuit cutter, this recipe will yield 8 crab cakes. I have also used a smaller cutter to make appetizer-sized crab cakes with great results. Even with big lumps of crab, the mixture will hold together when refrigerated. If one starts to break apart, just push it back together and it will be fine.

Crab Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, picked over to remove any shells
  • 4 scallions, green part only, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped (can use other herbs as well)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 2-4 tablespoons plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Crab Cake Instructions:

1. Gently mix the crab meat, scallions, cilantro, Old Bay, 2 tablespoons bread crumbs and mayonnaise in a medium bowl. Mix carefully to not break up the lump crab meat. Season with salt and white pepper. Fold in egg with a spatula, adding more bread crumbs if necessary. Mixture should barely cling together, so be careful not to add too many bread crumbs.

Nice jumbo lumps of crab as the ingredients are added:

2. Divide the crab mixture into eight equal portions and shape into a round cake (can make 4-6 larger crab cakes as well). Arrange the cakes on a baking sheet lined with wax paper; cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

These guys look a little like my granite!

3. Put the flour in a small bowl or on a small plate. Lightly dredge the crab cakes in the flour to coat.

4. Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Place crab cakes in the skillet and pan-fry until outsides are crisp and browned, 3-4 minutes per side. Since the crab cakes are a little fragile, use a spatula and a fork to carefully flip the cakes.

Serve immediately with dipping sauce. We usually serve the crab cakes with fresh vegetables and mashed potatoes.


Creamy Chipotle Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons chipolte chiles, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed through a garlic press
  • 2 teaspoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice

Creamy Chipotle Sauce Instructions:

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

This recipe comes from the America’s Test Kitchen companion cookbook from 2004.

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