Crab Cakes

Many versions of this Maryland specialty have an abundance of flour or breadcrumbs to bind the mixture. These cakes are thin, have a wonderful irregular lacey shape, and are pleasantly light on the palate. The tartar sauce is a close-to-classic with the exception of ketchup (yes, it’s true, from the bottle), added to give it a pale rosy hue.

Make the sauce the day before you plan on making the cakes to allow the flavors to blend. The sauce garnishes will be slightly less crunchy, but the flavor more developed.

For the Tartar Sauce

½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup finely chopped sweet red pepper
¼ cup minced scallion greens
¼ cup sweet pickle relish or chopped dill pickle
¼ cup finely chopped cucumber
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon scissored chives
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 large clove garlic, minced
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
Tabasco sauce to taste

For the Cakes

1 pound fresh, cooked and shelled crabmeat
1 tablespoon flour
1 large egg
2 to 4 tablespoons heavy cream
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Cayenne pepper to taste
Tabasco sauce to taste
¼ cup fresh breadcrumbs
Unsalted butter
Lemon wedge

To make the tartar sauce, combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk to blend well. Set aside in the refrigerator if making ahead, or on the counter, covered, until ready to serve.

To make the crab cakes, place the crabmeat in a large bowl and toss it with the flour. Beat the egg with the cream in a small bowl and add the mixture to the crabmeat with some sea salt, pepper, cayenne, Tabasco sauce, and breadcrumbs. Toss well to combine.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and spoon cakes into the pan. Flatten the cakes and cook until the outside is a dark golden, lacey brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Turn and brown the second side. Remove the cakes to a platter or plates and repeat with the remaining crab mixture. When all the cakes are done, sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Serve with the reserved tartar sauce and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Recipe and Photograph Copyright Deirdre Davis 2016
Use of content requires permission.

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