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Maryland Crab Cakes

From “Cooking for Comfort” by Marian Burros
/ Source: TODAY

Servings: 8 cakes


  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 cup crushed saltines
  • 1 pound fresh lump crabmeat
  • Salt to taste, optional
  • 4 tablespoons neutral-flavored vegetable oil, such as canola

DIRECTIONS Mix together the egg, mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire, and hot pepper sauce in a bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients.

Finely crush the saltines between two pieces of wax paper with a rolling pin. Fold the crushed crackers into the mayonnaise mixture.

Pick over the crabmeat to remove bits of shell or cartilage. Fold the crabmeat into the mayonnaise mixture and season with salt, if desired. Gently shape into 8 crab cakes, handling as little as possible. Refrigerate, covered, if desired.

To serve, heat the oil in a pan large enough to hold the crab cakes and sauté over medium heat, about 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

WINEChardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or Riesling

TIPSA lemon wedge served as an accompaniment is acceptable, but no tartar sauce, please.

The quality of the crabmeat is extremely important. It is difficult to get unpasteurized crabmeat outside the mid-Atlantic states and Southeast, but it is sweeter. I’ve seen crab cakes made with just about every other kind of crab, but to me none is as good as blue crab. People in the Northwest and in the South will have other ideas.

For some in this area of the country, Old Bay seasoning is critical, but to me it masks the sweetness of the crab.

Some people coat the crab cakes in bread crumbs; I think it makes them taste drier. I also think sautéing brings out the delicate flavor better than deep-fat frying.

I’ve tried sautéing the crab cakes in oil and in butter; there is a slight difference in taste but it’s very small, and with oil there is less chance of burning the fat.

Above all, fold the crab gently into the other ingredients; do not work the meat or it will break up. Do not flatten down the crab cakes; mold them gently into a cake shape.

For a streamlined version, light mayonnaise works as well as the regular kind.