In my family, my uncle Paul makes the very best crab cakes. He offers the recipe to anyone who asks, but they just don't come out like his. This is his recipe. I watched him at work so I could give slightly more concrete measurements than "a pinch" here or a "heavy dash" there. And I think this is what helps create crab cakes that are nearly identical to the ones Uncle Paul makes.
Technique tip: The one thing that you have to do is chill the mixture. What makes these crab cakes so good is the tender inside, but if you don't refrigerate, tender turns to falling apart.
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons grated horseradish
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh basil
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup minced onion
- 1 rib celery, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 1 pound lump crab meat
- 6 saltine crackers, crushed
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Vegetable oil, for pan-frying
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour for dusting
For the sauce:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, cheese, horseradish, basil and garlic powder. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper.
For the crab cakes:
In a large bowl, whisk the egg and then add the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, and melted butter and stir until smooth. Add the onion, celery, parsley, crab, saltines, salt and pepper; gently fold to combine all the ingredients. The mixture will be loose, so chill for 1 to 2 hours so that the cakes will hold together.
When the mixture is chilled, divide into eight even portions. Heat 3 to 4 teaspoons oil over medium heat in a 10-inch skillet. Dust the crab cakes in flour and place them in the pan when the oil is hot. Cook each side for 4 to 5 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.
Top each crab cake with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the sauce and serve immediately.