I love crab cakes, but I am incredibly picky about the ones I eat. I rarely enjoy them when ordered at a restaurants, and while I love the idea of a crab cake hors d’oeuvre, I find they rarely live up to expectation. Most crab cakes out there are not particularly appetizing and most of them suffer from being too dry.
To impress upon you how incredible this recipe is, I want you to know that we made these on Christmas Day for our big family lunch! These crab cakes were the main event, and they did not disappoint. We served them with french green beans, baked cheese grits and a celery remoulade. I think they are great to make when you are entertaining company or have a large group because you can form the mixture beforehand and place them in the fridge until you are ready to cook. Though it does involve some kitchen time away from your guest, the end result is worth it, and it is very easy to make a big batch. I think it would be fun to do a surf and turf with these and allows your guest a little flexibility and choice.
I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!
I pound fresh jumbo lump crabmeat, picked and drained
Juice of ½ lemon
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup whole milk
¼ teaspoon dry mustard (I also add a little Dijon mustard)
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
Salt and white pepper
Old Bay Seasoning (a few dashes)
Cayenne pepper (optional – you don’t want the cakes to be too spicy)
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Lemon wedges for garnish
1¼ cups breadcrumbs (I use Japanese panko crumbs)
½ cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup whole milk
- Pick over the crabmeat well, removing any cartilage. Mix it lightly with the lemon juice.
- Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Add the milk slowly, beating with a whisk. Cook over medium heat until the sauce is smooth and has lost its raw flavor, about two minutes. Blend in the mustard and remove from heat. Beat in the egg yolks. Add the crabmeat, salt, white pepper and cayenne.
- Refrigerate the crabmeat mixture to allow it to firm up, at least one hour.
- Place breadcrumbs in a bowl. Place flour in a second bowl. Beat eggs with milk in a third bowl.
- Form the crabmeat mixture into 8 patties (I usually make 4 big ones). Dip each patty in the flour, then in the egg and milk mixture. Coat well with breadcrumbs. Refrigerate for one hour or so for the crab cakes to set.
- Heat the butter and oil in a heavy skillet and sauté the crab cakes until they are golden brown on both sides. Finish in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
*Note* it is important to refrigerate the crab cakes so that they get cold and hold together while cooking!