Having spent 7 years living within walking distance of the Chesapeake Bay, I’m no stranger to the culinary delight that is crab cakes. Deep fried, lightly fried, on a sandwich, on an English muffin, in a salad…you name it, I’ve had it.
Well, I used to have it. Crab cakes had already become less common in my diet after I moved to Florida, but when I was diagnosed they disappeared completely. Until this weekend.
Even though my from-scratch bread still hasn’t turned out the way I’d like, a few friends and I enjoyed a light dinner of gluten-free crab cakes prepared by my dear friend Dennis. Obviously the key ingredient here, other than crab, was bread crumbs. We tried making bread crumbs out of my freshly baked lopsided, semi-undercooked loaf, but they came out soggy, so Dennis ended up buying a loaf of always-trustworthy Sami’s from Ward’s.
The inspiration for these tasty cakes came from this site, but I’m pasting it below with the variations we used. Served with a little avocado and some sauteed asparagus, it was the perfect light, summery meal for a chilly Saturday night.
What you’ll need:
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard (We used wet deli mustard)
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (omitted this on account of deli mustard provides similar flavor)
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound cooked crab meat, flaked (We used Publix claw meat. Mmm.)
- 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs, more as needed (We dumped Sami’s crumbs in the crab mixture, then used more for dredging)
- Half butter and oil for frying
- Lemon wedges
^A word about Bread crumbs:
It’s a common misconception that bread crumbs should be made from stale bread. In reality, stale bread means stale bread crumbs. So you’ll want to use a fresh loaf. However, if your loaf is too freshly baked, it may be too moist, as was part of the problem with my loaf. You want to cut fresh bread up and place it in the oven for a bit to dry it out.
To pulverize the bread, use a food processor or blender, or, if you’re desperate, a knife. Gluten free bread crumbles pretty easily.
What you’ll do:
“Beat the eggs in a medium-sized bowl. Add the parsley, mustard, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and pepper; mix well to combine. Gently fold in the crab meat and fresh crumbs until well combined. (The mixture will be very moist. If it is wet, add a few more fresh breadcrumbs.) Divide the mixture into 6 to 8 portions; flatten gently into thick patties. (Packing the mixture into 1/3-cup measure for each cake will ensure even portions and yield seven cakes. For more or less cakes, use a slightly smaller or larger cup.) Lightly coat the top and bottom of each patty with panko crumbs. If possible, refrigerate for 30 minutes before sautéing to help the cakes hold together.
“Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough butter and oil to generously cover the bottom. Add the crab cakes, in batches if necessary, and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. (Be gentle when turning the crab cakes as they are somewhat fragile.) Remove from the pan and drain on a baking rack set on a baking sheet. Serve immediately, with or without the sauce or lemon wedges.”
I also homemade some sauce by eyeballing a little sour cream mayonnaise and sriracha, the spicy + sour flavor went really well with the delicate cakes.