Essentials: Crab Cakes

Crab cakes are one of those things that always look powerfully enticing on a menu but that I almost never order. They’re too expensive, or I’m feeling too fat to eat fried food, or—and this is usually the dealbreaker for me—there’s a good chance that they’ll be inferior. And who wants to eat expensive, fattening food that disappoints?

Making excellent crab cakes at home should be a good solution to this problem, but crab meat is so expensive that I worry about botching the frying and wasting a nice ingredient. So a few years ago I was pleased to discover these baked crab cakes in The Dean & Deluca Cookbook. They come together in a flash and bake in the time it takes you to make a salad for a light and elegant little meal. They are extremely tasty, too, at least in my opinion; because they are baked and need not withstand all that frying and flipping, they contain no breading, just an egg for binding, and are therefore rich and sweetly crabby. If you can’t live without crisp breading, these might not be the cakes for you; but if your priority is crab, you should be quite happy.

About the author: Robin Bellinger recently escaped a career in book publishing, which was cutting into her cooking time. Now she's a freelance editor and can bake bread on Tuesday afternoon if she feels like it. She lives in Midtown Manhattan with her husband and blogs about cooking and crafting at home*economics.

Essentials: Crab Cakes

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About This Recipe

Yield:4 as a generous main course or 8 as an appetizer
This recipe appears in: This Week in Recipes

Ingredients

  • Canola or safflower oil for oiling the baking sheet
  • 3/4 cup thick mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 pounds lump crabmeat, picked over to remove cartilage
  • Lemon wedges as an accompaniment

Procedures

  1. 1

    Preheat the oven to 400°F and lightly oil a baking sheet.

  2. 2

  3. 3

    Gently form the mixture into eight 1-inch thick cakes and transfer to the baking sheet.

  4. 4

    Bake the crab cakes for 15 minutes or so, or until lightly golden. Run a spatula under them once or twice to make sure they’re not sticking. When the cakes are ready, put them under a preheated broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they’re lightly browned on top. Remove from broiler and let stand on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

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