Gallery: The Crabbiest Crab Cakes | The Food Lab

  • Crabby Cakes

    Nothing but crab and a touch of aromatics inside with a crisp coating of breadcrumbs just on one side of the cake. How do we get them to hold together?

    Step 1: Mix

    Fold together a pound of jumbo lump crab meat with 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise and one large eggs. Herbs are optional.

    Step 2: Form Log

    Form the mixture into a log shape in the middle of a large sheet of aluminum foil.

    Step 3: Start Rolling

    Lift up the edge of the foil and start rolling the log away from you, trying to keep the foil as tight as possible without squeezing out the crab.

    Step 4: Keep Rolling

    Once you've formed a log, it should roll away from you easily without compressing.

    Step 5: Tighten Edges

    Twiste the edges of the foil to compress the log further, creating a tight, evenly shaped log.

    Step 6: Freeze Log

    Place the log in the freezer until it firms up but doesn't completely freeze, about 25 minutes.

    Step 7: Slice

    Slice the cakes directly through the foil. The cakes should be about an inch and a half thick. You'll have a bit of waste at the end of the logs. The scrap can be collected and formed into a freeform cake. If the cakes are too soft, return them to the freezer for a few minutes.

    Step 8: Prepare Your Breading

    Put an beaten egg in one bowl and panko breadcrumbs in another.

    Step 9: Egg It

    Dip one side of one cake in egg.

    Step 10: Crumb It

    Then into the bread crumbs.

    Step 11: Repeat

    Repeat on all the cakes, transferring them to a parchment-lined baking sheet as you work.

    Step 12: Heat Fat

    Heat 3 tablespoons of oil and butter together in a large cast iron skillet until the butter melts.

    Step 13: Fry

    Slip the cakes into the melted butter and cook them over moderate heat, swirling the pan around occasionally, until the bottoms are pale golden brown and the cakes begin to hold themselves together.

    Step 14: Peel

    Remove the foil once the cakes are firm enough to hold themselves together.

    Step 15: Double Check

    Check the bottom of one cake to ensure that it's golden brown before proceeding.

    Step 16: Baste

    Tilt the pan towards you, then spoon some of the hot fat on top of the cakes until they are completely coated. This browned butter will help them brown rapidly under the broiler (which should be preheated by now).

    Step 17: Broil

    Place the cakes about 6 inches below the broiler and broil until golden brown and cooked through.

    Step 18: Done Broiled

    The cakes should come out lightly puffed and golden brown.

    Step 19: Blot

    Transfer the cakes to paper towels to blot off excess fat from both sides.

    Step 20: Serve

    Serve the cakes crumbed-side-up with Extra Tangy Tartar Sauce.

    Nothing but Crab

    Nothing but Crab

    The interior of the cakes are tender, sweet, succulent, and intensely crab flavored because, well, there's not much but crab in there.