Crab cakes are easy to make and great to have on hand when you need something quick and easy for dinner or an appetizer.
The best ones use good-size pieces of crab, but lump crab is the most expensive - about $16 for an 8-ounce container. Crab labeled "special" and claw meat are each about $8 for 8 ounces. To cut cost, use a mix of all three.
Once you've mixed all the ingredients together, shape the crab cakes into the desired size. Use an ice cream scoop to make dinner-portion-size crab cakes, about 3 ounces each. Shape the mixture gently and don't press it. Crab cakes should be about a half-inch thick. To make small ones for appetizers, use tablespoon measures.
(To prepare ahead, make, shape, and freeze the crab cakes without cooking. If you cook and then freeze them, they may get soggy. Place crab cakes on a tray lined with parchment or waxed paper and place in the freezer. Once frozen, put them in a freezer bag, label and date it, and store in the freezer.)
I prefer to broil crab cakes. You can pan-fry them, too, but use an oil such as canola so it doesn't compete with the crab flavor.
Crab Cakes With Herb Sauce
Makes 8 crab cakes
1 1/4 pounds lump crabmeat (or mix of lump, special, and claw meat)
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup finely chopped red pepper, optional
1/2 to 1 cup cracker meal or plain panko bread crumbs
Crab Cake Sauce (see note)
1. Preheat the broiler.
2. Pat the crabmeat dry and set it aside.
3. In large mixing bowl, mix together the egg, salt, pepper, Old Bay Seasoning, Dijon, mayonnaise, parsley, and, if using, the red pepper. Fold in the crabmeat, trying not to break up the chunks. Add cracker meal or panko crumbs. The mixture should be sticky but not too moist.
4. Add additional cracker meal or panko crumbs as needed. Shape the mixture into patties about 1/2 inch thick and about 3 inches in diameter.
5. Place on a broiler pan and broil about 6 inches from the heat element until just lightly browned on top, about 4 minutes. Turn over and broil on second side until lightly brown, another 4 minutes. Remove from the broiler and serve with the sauce.
Cook's note: To make a simple sauce, mix 2 tablespoons minced favorite herb, 1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Season with a little sea salt and black pepper if desired.
- From Susan Selasky
Per crab cake: 190 calories, 16 grams protein, 8 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams sugar, 10 grams fat, 97 milligrams cholesterol, 491 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber