Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. What we love about these crab cakes is that they don’t have fillers, mayo, and other flavor-maskers. A delicate shrimp puree sets up the binding, enhancing the flavor and increasing the protein content of these little crab cakes.
Normally I try to simplify and/or modify recipes but I mean, it’s Cook’s Illustrated. I know better than to mess with perfection! I did remove a couple of steps that won’t change the flavor significantly, but the proportions are theirs.
Makes 8 crab cakes, 1 per sleever, 2 per non-ops.
Best Crab Cakes
- 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over for shells
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 4 ounces shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- Pulse celery, onion, and garlic in food processor until finely chopped, 5 to 8 pulses, scraping down bowl as needed. Transfer vegetables to large bowl. Rinse processor bowl and blade and reserve.
- Melt butter in empty skillet over medium heat. Add chopped vegetables, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened and all moisture has evaporated, 4 to 6 minutes. Return vegetables to large bowl and let cool to room temperature. Rinse out pan and wipe clean.
- Pulse shrimp in now-empty food processor until finely ground, 12 to 15 pulses, scraping down bowl as needed. Add cream and pulse to combine, 2 to 4 pulses, scraping down bowl as needed. Transfer shrimp puree to bowl with cooled vegetables.
- Add mustard, hot pepper sauce, lemon juice, and Old Bay seasoning; stir until well combined. Add crabmeat and fold gently with rubber spatula, being careful not to overmix and break up lumps of crabmeat.
- Divide mixture into 8 balls and firmly press into 1/2-inch-thick patties. Place cakes on rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Don't skip this step. They are delicate and hard enough to coat with panko as it is, and putting them in the fridge does help firm them up.
- Coat each cake in panko, firmly pressing to adhere crumbs to exterior. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Place 4 cakes in skillet and cook without moving them until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Using 2 spatulas, carefully flip cakes, add 1 tablespoon oil, reduce heat to medium-low, and continue to cook until second side is golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer cakes to platter.
- Wipe out skillet and repeat with remaining 4 cakes and remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Serve immediately.