When it’s cold and rainy outside, I like to cook something to transport me away to the beach. And what better to represent a long summer afternoon than yummy crab cakes! This recipe is so good! It gets a little messy, but luckily the set-up is simple enough and the end-result is tasty enough that it doesn’t matter.
To start, make the bread crumbs. You want to have fresh bread crumbs. Now I’m not sure you can buy them anywhere, but it’s super simple to do. I used 8 slices of regular white bread, tore them into slices, and added it to my food processor. Pulse a few times until they break down into a crumb consistency.
Next, get a large mixing bowl and add the crab meat. Make sure when you buy the meat the it isn’t claw meat. I did that one time by accident and was pretty disappointed. You want to see “lump crab meat” on the tin. Grab all of the vegetables and herbs you need, too. You’ll be doing a decent amount of chopping between the crab cakes and the remoulade.
Chop up 1/4 large red onion, half of a green, red, and poblano pepper, about 4-5 scallion stalks, and 1 teaspoon of parsley. I then gathered all the vegetables and ran my knife through the bunch. You want the veggies to be very fine. The worst thing is getting a large chunk of onion when you bite into the crab cake!
Once the veggies are chopped up well, add them to the bowl with the crab meat along with the lemon juice, cayenne pepper, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and bread crumbs. I used more bread crumbs than the two cups the recipe called for, because the mixture was a bit too wet and I was afraid the cakes wouldn’t hold when they were being fried. So I added about 3-3 1/2 cups instead. Trust me, the cakes were still crab-filled and delicious! Plus, it doesn’t take 4 cups of crumbs for the coating, so it would have been a waste anyways.
Once the mixture is thoroughly incorporated, set up your dressing station! I had the mixture, then a plate with about 1 cup of flour, then a plate with 4 beaten eggs (though you could probably get away with 3), and last was a bowl of the remaining bread crumbs. I also set up two cooking racks with paper towels underneath to hold the form crab cakes.
To form the cakes, I found that it was easiest to scoop about two tablespoons of mixture and squeeze slightly to remove any excess moisture you can. It might be a good idea to drain the crab meat previously, but I didn’t think of it until after I was cooking. Then, drop the mixture into the flour, dry your hands, and squeeze a little tighter so that the flour sticks to the surface. When you put the cake in the egg, don’t let it sit. Quickly roll till it’s coated and then drop into the crumbs. Wipe your hands again so that the crumbs don’t stick all over your fingers, and roll the cakes in to crumbs. I actually rolled them in the crumbs, squeezed, and then rolled a second time to make a thicker layer. The mixture is moist so adding more batter is a good idea. Rest the formed cakes onto the cooking rack and repeat.
The recipe says it makes about 28, and I got 25, close enough! I let the crab cakes sit while I made the super-simple chili remoulade.
To make the remoulade, first mix equal amounts of water and chili powder together and set aside for a few minutes. Then, it’s time to get back to chopping!
Chop the red onion (a little less than a 1/4 of the onion), the pickles (I used 8 bread and butter slices), capers, parsley, chives, and – most importantly – tarragon! If you’ve never used tarragon, prepare to have your world turned on its side. Tarragon is a licorice-y herb that pairs with seafood in the same perfect manner as rosemary pairs with chicken. Oh yeah, it’s that good. I added extra tarragon to this mixture and it really made a difference. It cuts through the spice of the chili powder and the tartness of the pickles. So good!
Once you’ve done all the chopping, add everything to a bowl along with the chili mixture, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and the juice of 1/2 a lemon.
Mix it thoroughly and set it aside so that the flavors can meld together. The chili makes the remoulade a beautiful light red color, and all of the fresh herbs makes this sauce scream summertime!
Get ready to fry! I warmed up about 1/4 cup of vegetable oil until the oil was very hot. Per the recipe, make sure the oil isn’t smoking. You just want it to be hot. To test out if the oil has come to temperature, flick a very little drop of water into the pan. If the oil is hot, it should crackle.
Once the oil is ready, add 3-4 cakes to the pan. Slightly push the cakes down to flatten if they’re too round. It only takes about two minutes per side to cook, and as you go own, it takes even less time. You might need to turn the heat down as you go. You want the cakes to develop a nice, golden brown crust. Once they’re done, place on a plate that has been lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil while the next batch cooks. Then move them to a baking sheet to allow the newest batch to dry.
Once they’re all cooked, squeeze some lemon juice over them and some course sea salt. Serve immediately with the remoulade and some lemon. This would go great with some watermelon… or sangria! You’ll be whisked off to the sandy beaches in no time!