When I am in the mood for crab but don’t want the mess & hassle of cracking shells and digging the meat out, nothing fits the bill like a tender, plump crab cake. I’m not talking about a crab cake that’s mostly crappy breadcrumbs and other cheap fillers, I’m talking a cake filled with lush, sweet crab meat and little more.
The September 2018 Food & Wine Magazine features their 40 “Best Ever Recipes,” which lured me in with a luscious chocolate cake on the cover, but they hooked me with this recipe for crab cakes, nine pages from the back of the magazine on page 95!
Andrew Zimmern’s Baltimore Style Crab Cakes
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (See note below)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, picked over
- 20 saltine crackers, finely crushed (See note below)
- 1/4 cup canola oil (See note below)
- Lemon wedges, for serving
In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the egg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce until smooth.
In a medium bowl, lightly toss the crab meat with the cracker crumbs. Gently fold in the mayonnaise mixture. In Andrew Zimmern’s words, if you don’t over mix, and don’t pack your mounds too tightly, you will experience “pure, unadulterated crab cake heaven.” Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Scoop the crab mixture into eight 1/3-cup mounds; lightly pack into 8 patties, about 1+1/2 inches thick. In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the crab cakes and cook over moderately high heat until deeply golden and heated through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the crab cakes to plates and serve with lemon wedges.
- Tip 1: If you prefer, you can substitute 1 1/2 tsp yellow or spicy mustard and omit the Dijon mustard and hot sauce
- Tip 2: You can substitute 1/2 cup Panko crumbs for the saltine crackers
- Tip 3: You can substitute any lightweight oil for the canola oil. I prefer olive oil.
- Tip 4: If you plan to serve these as appetizers you can scoop them with a small cookie scoop, a soup spoon or melon baller – depending on whether you want them to be a 1 or 2 bite app.
- MAKE AHEAD Crab cakes can be prepared thru Step 2 & refrigerated overnight
Originally published in 2012, this recipe also appears on Andrew Zimmern’s website. It serves 4 people 2 patties each. I served it alongside a peppery arugula salad topped with diced mango, pineapple, cucumbers, a squeeze of lemon juice and a tablespoon of vinaigrette dressing. #ThisGirlLovesToEat Food and Wine recommended serving alongside a chilled glass of brisk, lemony Muscadet. #GirlsGoneWine
Not being familiar with Muscadet, luckily I had the August 2018 edition of Wine Enthusiast Magazine on my coffee table, with an article on the reinvention of the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine appelation by Roger Voss, so I could get a quick education on this single grape (white Melon de Bourgogne) varietal.
Because Melon de Bourgogne is neutral in character, it is a grape whose taste relies heavily on the climatic conditions and qualities of the soil in which it is planted. So, in the case of Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, grown in the Loire Valley region of France, you can get everything from light and fruity, citrus to tropical, to rich and mineral with varying levels of intensity.
While not a wine that every store carries, it is a relatively inexpensive wine that is carried by wine stores that will ship free, or at minimal cost. Unlike the wines linked in the Wine Enthusiast article online, the links below are to stores that have the wines mentioned in stock.
Bougrier Les Martinieres – This crisp, fruity white is an enjoyable accompaniment to shellfish and light appetizers. Its light sweetness adds richness to the light lemon, mineral and peach notes. Total Wine $10.99
- Les Frères Couillaud 2016 Château de la Ragotière Sélection Vieilles Vignes Sur Lie (Muscadet Sèvre et Maine) – Wine Enthusiast 92! Lemon and the lightest texture are lifted by intense acidity and a lively, fresh aftertaste. Pair with seafood, scallops, lobster, grilled fish, Asian food, or goat cheese. Paul’s Wine & Spirits $13.99