Crab Cakes should be simple, they don’t need a bunch of peppers or strange ingredients and they definitely don’t need a bunch of bread crumbs. The key is buying the best crab meat you can afford that’s available. Fresh is always best but I’ve made some very tasty crab cakes with pasteurized crab meat too. I made this batch of crab cakes with fresh whole crabs that I painstakingly picked myself. Obviously that’s not always an option but it’s a great way to use leftover steamed crabs if you have them. Save the shells to make amazing soup broth but that’s another recipe.
Crabmeat is expensive, it doesn’t matter where you live or who you know. At the date of writing this blog the going price for jumbo lump Crab was about $36 and backfin was $24. There’s no shame in using all backfin crab especially if you’re using fresh crabmeat. I like to use a combination so that I can get those big beautiful lumps from the jumbo and fill in the blanks with the backfin.
Depending on the time of year or the region you live in fresh crab meat may not be an option. Your next best bet is to use pasteurized crab meat. Though pasteurized crab tends to be a little more bland you can compensate with the other ingredients in your crab cakes. Most pasteurized crab meat is going to come from the Far East. Regulations can vary a lot but I try to look for crab meat that is cooked on board and pasteurized immediately. Crab meat from the Philippines and Vietnam tend to be the best. I try to avoid any crab meat from China if possible
The type of crab meat you use will also affect the amount of sauce you’ll need to make the crab cakes.. Always be sure to add the sauce to the crab meat and never the crab meat to the sauce. You can always add sauce but you can’t add crab meat, well you could but that can get expensive. You just need enough sauce to coat the crab meat so that there’s enough to hold the shape of the crab cake. Make one test crab cake and then put it back in the bowl with the rest of the crab meat to sit, it will bind even better after a few hours in the fridge and can even be prepared the night before. Form the crab cakes while you’re preheating the oven and they should come out perfectly.
Just because I’m a condiment junkie I wanted to include this Remoulade recipe as a bonus, it’s a tangy creamy sauce that’s perfect for any seafood, especially crab cakes. It’s a super simple recipe that takes less then five minutes so it’s a no brainer to pair with this crab cake recipe.
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