I’m not going to lie. These babies are a project. On the upside, make them ahead (night before or morning of), then warm them in the oven before dinner, the dirty dishes and frying pan a distant memory. Cheers! Pour the wine!
My version is adapted from Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen and I like it because it stays away from globs of store-bought mayonnaise. Instead, egg yolk, lemon juice, and spices go into a food processor, then you drizzle in a few tablespoons of olive oil. There. Without even knowing it, you’ve made real mayonnaise.
makes 8; adapted from Tom Douglas' Seattle Kitchen
- 1 pound fresh lump crab meat Maryland Blue Crab 1 pound can works great
Bread Crumb Coating:
- 8 slices white sandwich bread
- ¾ cup parsley leaves, chopped, divided (½ cup for crumbs, ¼ cup for crab)
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce Secret Aardvark Habanero or Tabasco
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon celery seeds
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 5 tbsp olive oil
Vegetables for Crab Cakes:
- ¼ cup yellow onion, finely diced
- ¼ cup red bell pepper, finely diced
- ¼ cup green bell pepper, finely diced
- 4 tbsp ghee or butter
Put crab in a large sieve and drain out excess liquid—do not rinse with water or you will dilute the delicious flavor. Press firmly to get out as much liquid as you can. Transfer crab to a bowl.
Tear bread into pieces and put in food processor. Pulse to make bread crumbs. Reserve 1 cup bread crumbs for the crab and put the rest in a rimmed sheet pan, and wipe any straggler crumbs out of the food processor bowl.
Make the spicy mayonnaise: Put egg yolk, Dijon, lemon juice, Worcestershire, hot sauce, and spices in food processor and purée for a minute. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula and whirr again. With the motor running, slowly drizzle the olive oil through the feed tube. After the last drop of olive oil goes in, turn off the motor, and transfer the spicy mayonnaise to the crab bowl.
Add the onion, bell peppers, reserved 1/4 cup chopped parsley, and 1 cup bread crumbs to the crab bowl. Mix gently to combine. Add remaining 1/2 cup parsley to the remaining bread crumbs on the sheet pan and mix with your fingers to combine.
Form 8 crab cakes, about 3-inches diameter, 1 1/2-inches high. As you make each one, transfer to the bread crumb-parsley covered sheet pan. Using your fingers, sprinkle bread crumbs over the top and sides of each crab cake, and press gently to get them to stick.
Heat ghee or butter in frying pan, add crab cakes and let cook until brown on the bottom, a couple minutes. Gently flip each and brown the other side. Transfer crab cakes to a clean rimmed sheet pan or oven-safe dish. Proceed to baking or wrap with plastic and refrigerate for later.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Bake crab cakes until hot in the center, about 8–10 minutes from refrigerated (6–8 minutes from room temperature). Serve with lemon wedges, tomatillo salsa, apple-fennel slaw or coleslaw. Or simply a handful of arugula. Enjoy!