Absolute Moral Authority

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Crab cakes done right

Posted by mesablue on December 29, 2006

In the mood for crab cakes and Jimmy Schmidt from the Rattlesnake Club just posted this recipe with a little twist.

I’m cooking — who’s coming over?

In this recipe, make sure to use never frozen, jumbo lump crab. Anything else is just not worth it — might as well go to a restaurant and order one of those big lumps of bread crumbs they try to pass off as crab cakes. There is little or no breading in a real crab cake, just a little something sprinkled on the outside for texture.

Lump Crab Cake With Bloody Mary Salsa

Cooking note: (C=0g), (P=0g) and (F=0g) indicate the carbohydrates, protein and fiber in grams for the ingredient listed. This recipe has about 10 grams carbohydrates, 23 grams protein and 2 grams fiber per serving.

Crab cake:

1/4 cup mayonnaise (C=4g)

1/2 cup finely diced sweet onions (C=7g)

1/4 cup finely diced celery stalk (C=1.1g)

Sea salt (C=0g)

Cayenne pepper to your taste (C=.4g)

1 pound cleaned jumbo lump crab meat (C=0g) (P=92g)

1/2 cup whole wheat crackers, ground (Net C=10g) (P=4g)

Salsa:

1 cup diced ripe tomatoes (C=8.4g) (P=1.5g) (F=2g)

1 teaspoon garlic salt (C=0g)

1 shot Citron vodka, optional (C=0g)

1 lime, juiced (C=2.8g)

1 tablespoon Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce (C=3g)

1 generous dash chipotle Tabasco (C=1g) or to your taste

1 heaping tablespoon prepared horseradish sauce (C=0g)

4 sprigs celery greens for garnish (C=.2g)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. To make crab cakes: In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, onion and celery. Season generously with salt and cayenne. Fold in the crab meat. Mold into 4 cakes. Sprinkle half of the cracker crumbs into 4 small circles on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Place a crab cake on each circle of crumbs. Sprinkle the tops of the crab cakes lightly with the remaining crumbs. Deep-chill in the freezer, without freezing, until ready to cook, about 15 to 30 minutes.

To make salsa: In another medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic salt, optional vodka and lime juice. Season generously with Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, horseradish and sea salt as necessary. Reserve.

To cook: Place the crab cakes on the middle rack of your oven, cooking until golden brown about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven.

To serve: Transfer crab cakes to center of warm serving plate. Spoon the salsa over the cakes. Garnish with the spring of celery and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

From Jimmy’s article in the Detroit News:

Selecting your crab meat: Fresh crab meat is the best, but is highly perishable, lasting only a few days. Canned or pasteurized crab meat can be quite good and a more stable source, as long as it has not been frozen. For me, frozen crab meat loses texture and flavor and should be overlooked.


There are a few grading sizes to choose from:

Jumbo lump: These are the big crab lumps that come from the upper legs connecting to the body. These are the best for cocktails and salads, and my favorite indulgence for the perfect crab cake. Be selective of your brand, as an old trick is to pack the jumbo lump pieces on top, hiding the standard lump pieces underneath.


Lump, flake or claw meat: This is the meat from the rest of the crab and is sold under many marketing names, such as Lump, Special, Premium, Select and such. These pieces taste fine but are smaller and finer. Lump is just fine for a crab cake, but be careful to mix it as little as possible to keep the meat from further breaking apart and becoming mushy.


Colossal lump: Newer to the market, this meat comes from giant crabs fished in the South Pacific. These giant crabs yield giant lumps, clearly the size of a silver dollar, about double the size of Jumbo Lump. Very expensive, this meat is best enjoyed when it can be clearly enjoyed in its colossal shape.


Tricks of the trade: The best technique is to blend your spices and seasonings into the mayonnaise, then add the crab with as little mixing as possible. Second best is to deeply chill the crab cake in the freezer for about 15 to 30 minutes to set the shape; this allows you to avoid adding bread crumbs into the crab to glue it together, thus adding bland filler and unnecessary carbohydrates.

One Response to “Crab cakes done right”

  1. Tushar D said

    Mesa,
    I am restarting Atkins soon. Need to lose a few dozen pounds. This sounds delicious.

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