Cocktail Crab Cakes


Recipe adapted from Best American Side Dishes cookbook from the editors of Cook's Illustrated

Makes 24 small cakes

  • 1 lb fresh jumbo lump Louisiana crab meat, picked over to remove cartilage and shells
  • 4 green onions (scallions), green parts only, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Creole or Cajun seasoning
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • salt and ground white pepper

Note: The amount of bread crumbs you add will depend upon the juiciness of the crabmeat. Start with just 2 tablespoons. If the cakes won't hold together once you have added the egg, add more breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon at a time. There is no substitute for fresh blue crabmeat, preferably "jumbo lump", which indicates the largest pieces and highest grade.

Cocktail Crab Cakes

 Cocktail Crab Cakes

Click image to enlarge


Gently mix the  crabmeat, scallions, parsley, Creole seasoning, 2 tablespoons of the bread crumbs and mayonnaise in a medium bowl, being careful not to break up the crab lumps. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Carefully fold in the egg using a rubber spatula until the mixture just clings together. Add more crumbs a tablespoon at a time if necessary.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a generous tablespoon, form the mixture into 24 cakes, each 1 1/2 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick. Place the finished cake on the baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes. (The cakes can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)

Place an oven rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 200˚F. Line a baking sheet with a double thickness of paper towels. Put the flour in a pie dish. Lightly dredge half of the crab cakes, knocking off excess flour.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large skillet (preferably nonstick) over medium-high heat until oil is hot but not smoking. Gently place the floured crab cakes in the skillet pan fry until the outside is crisp and brown, 1 to 2 minutes. (Flour the remaining cakes while the first batch is browning.) Using a spatula, turn the cakes and leave for another minute or so until the second side is crisp and brown. Transfer the finished cakes to a baking sheet lined with paper towels and place the sheet in the preheated oven to keep hot.

Pour off the fat from the skillet and wipe clean. Return the skillet to the heat, add the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil and heat approximately 1 minute. Add the remaining cakes and fry as above.

Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce. (Susan Spicer's remoulade sauce is here.)


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