Sunday, March 14, 2010

Got Crabs?...Why Yes…Yes I do!

Crab cakes are a staple of many restaurant menus. Crab cakes are made from REAL crabmeat, mostly from the Blue Crab. Not the stuff you get with your SUSHI, that is called SURIMI, or imitation crabmeat. It is a fish based product, made mostly of Pollock or Hake. Vile stuff…stay away. The only actual crab in that product is from pulverized shells…yuck!

Blue Crabs from Maryland are valued as the tastiest in the world. The crabs are found all up-and-down the east coast. Demand is so high that we cannot produce enough to meet it; so much of the crab consumed in the United States comes from Mexico, Venezuela, and Southeast Asia.

Live crabs taste best, but it is labor intensive to extract the meat, and one whole Blue Crab yields about one ounce of meat. So we buy the pasteurized crabmeat at  Pasteurization involves subjecting the crabmeat to a special heat treatment and sealing it in air-tight containers. The process of pasteurization makes the meat 100% bacteria free.

The crabmeat I purchased from is a product of Vietnam. The species is Red Swimmer Crab, an Asian cousin of the Blue Crab. The size I used is Lump.

Crab cakes are all about the ratio of crab to bread. You want to serve a crab cake that tastes of crab. With that said, crab is a blank canvas, so you can get pretty creative with the flavor base you add to the cake.

When you open your container of crab meat pick through it with your fingers…you will always find bits of shell that will ruin your cake eating expereince. Keep the meat refrigerated. The following guidelines are for 1 pound of crab meat. Dice a red bell pepper, a leek (white and light green parts only), a jalapeno pepper, a shallot, and 2 cloves of garlic. Sauté the vegetables in a pan over medium-high heat to soften. Place in a bowl and allow to cool completely.

In a large bowl, mix the crabmeat with the sautéed vegetables. Add 1 cup of bread crumbs, and 3 tbs of mayo. Mix well. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 250 F.

Place a pan over medium-high heat, and a bit of canola oil. Take a handful of the crab mixture and form into a patty. If it is too wet, add more bread crumbs, but only just enough, remember more crab, less bread. Working in batches, add a few to the pan, do not overcrowd the pan. Cook about 2 minutes per side…the goal is to brown the exterior of the cakes.

Transfer the pan to the oven. Cook in the oven for 7 minutes. Place the cakes on a plate lined with paper towels. Serve immediately with Lazaro’s Spicy Mayo. Okay, sauce time. This is a real crowd pleaser and goes swimmingly with the crab cake. ½ cup mayo, ½ cup crème fraiche, pinch brown sugar, pinch sea salt, 2 drops soy sauce, 2 drops honey, splash of ketchup and Tabasco. The Tabasco is up to you, some like it hot, let her rip. If you’re more conservative a few drops will do. Mix well, cover and refrigerate for one hour.

That’s it for now…till we exchange a few words again…Peace!


  1. These look great! The next time I see crab at a price I can afford in the store-I will get some and make these! The ex used to travel to MD all the time with Boeing, and I had a real MD crab cake, which is mostly crab with a little bit a breadcrumbs to bind it. Really nice job and your photo is spectacular as well.

    Polly Motzko

    I will send you the link to my cooking blog on Ning. I don't have the thing memorized YET. ;-)

  2. Polly,

    Thank you for the kind words. Crab cakes are all about the crab-to-bread ratio. I try to use as little binding agents as possible. Look forward to checking out your blog.

  3. Hi Lazaro,
    You made me hungry now! I enjoy the simplicity of this recipe. Agreed: crab cakes are all about crabmeat and little else. Great recipe!

  4. Natasha...thank you for stopping by. You are right crab cakes = all about the crab.

  5. ohhhh, you hit a soft


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