crab cake

Featured in Greenwich Lifestyle magazine – July 2020

Summer never tasted so good!

Few things are better than dining al fresco in the summer months with friends, enjoying some fresh seafood and a glass of crisp white wine (or two!) At your next summer soiree consider serving delicious homemade crab cakes and a seasonal corn & basil salad.

Crab Cakes on sheet pan
These crab cakes are pure crab and guaranteed to satisfy!

Stand out crab cakes, like most delectable dishes, come down to the ingredients that are in them. Store bought crab cakes use an abundance of fillers like celery, onion, red & yellow peppers, hearty amounts of breadcrumbs, and in many cases, contain several types of preservatives. They are also often made with back fin meat, which although more cost effective, has a more minced texture and a stronger sea flavor than lump or jumbo lump.

When making your own crab cakes you get to control what goes into them, and the results are superior to any pre-made options. So leave the vegetables like the onions, celery & peppers out, and save them for the side dish. Seasoning should elevate the delicate crab flavor and not disguise or commandeer the dish. And most important of all, use fresh, good quality crab meat. This approach will guarantee a delighted table of guests and you’ll be the star of the summer hosts!

You want a good crab cakes? Use good crab. It’s just that simple.

Crab Cake Benedict
My absolute favorite bunch is homemade Crab Cakes Benedict and a glass of champagne!

Fortunately, in the Greenwich and surrounding New England area, we are able to source fresh crab fairly easily. You can find it in all the local fish shops or specialty markets.

You’ll want to ask for lump or jumbo lump – the choice is yours. Jumbo lump will produce cakes with large pieces of crab and more texture, whereas lump will provide a more even consistency throughout. It’s all a matter of personal preference.

Tips:

  • To make this recipe gluten free, substitute Ritz crackers for gluten free butter crackers.
  • Crab cakes are versatile- serve them sandwich style, as an entree, make crab cake eggs Benedict, or make them mini for appetizer bites!
  • Use a circular cookie cutter and pack your crab inside the ring, and then lift the ring carefully for a perfectly shaped cake.
Crab cakes
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
6 mins
Total Time
26 mins
 

This crab cake recipe is all about the crab and none of fillers. Be sure to use fresh crab to best results! 

Cuisine: Seafood
Ingredients
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 heaping tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • Few drops of fresh lemon juice not to exceed 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 pound fresh crabmeat (drained, patted dry an picked over for shells or cartilage)
  • Non-stick cooking spray
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the egg, mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire, Tabasco, lemon juice, Old Bay, salt and pepper. Mix so that all the ingredients are well-incorporated.
  2. Add the cracker crumbs and parsley and mix well.
  3. Gently fold in crabmeat until just combined (try not to break up lumps of crabmeat too much).

  4. Using slightly wet hands, shape mixture into patties or use a round cookie cutter to pack and shape.

  5. Put the crab cakes on a baking sheet lined with parchment as they're shaped. Cover loosely with foil and refrigerate for 1 hour before cooking.

  6. Set oven on broil at 450. Spray a baking sheet with non stick spray and use a spatula to place crab cakes on tray and place in oven on medium height rack.

  7. Cook for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. (Keep an eye on them- every broiler cooks differently. If they are burning rather than browning, move them down to a lower rack.)

  8. Serve with lemon and tartar sauce, or seafood remoulade.

Crab & Pea Ravioli

I love making homemade pasta, especially raviolis. I love making raviolis so much that when I can’t sleep, I actually lie there thinking up new ravioli recipes in my head. This pretty much proves my level of obsession with food.

One night, I was working through an idea for a crab ravioli filling and got really stuck on what sort of sauce would work best for it. It needed to be something delicate as to not over power the crab’s clean, fresh flavor. I also knew it need to be thick enough to stick to the silky homemade pasta dough. Butter seemed the obvious choice, but I didn’t want a greasy, heavy dish. I wanted a sauce that would feel light and inspired by spring, and would elevate the crab, and not disguise it. Pea. Pea puree, I thought. And what if I cut it with a drizzle of olive oil for a added level of depth and fresh lemon zest for some brightness? Mmmm…this could work, I thought.

It took a few weeks for me to really work through the ingredients that I wanted to use and exploring the best possible combination of flavors. I was trying to imagine how the flavors and textures would come together. Finally, decisions were made and finally, it was time to see if I could take the recipe I developed in my head, to a plate. I couldn’t wait to find out if  it would be as good as I imagined it could be.

It’s an extremely satistfying feeling to bring a dish to life and have it look and taste just the way you imagined it could. This happened with this dish. It tasted and plated exactly how I had envisioned it.

The lemon zest seasoned the crab while lightening the hearty ricotta. The fresh herbs in the crab mixture helped tie the pea sauce to the ravioli filling and also introduced refreshing flavor notes. The ricotta cheese bound everything together in wonderful harmony. The delicate homemade pasta dough ensured a silky texture that carried through the entire dish. It was delicate and delicious. I can’t wait see what recipe I come up with the next time I can’t sleep!

5 from 1 vote
Crab Ravioli with Pea Puree
Cook Time
6 mins
 

Fresh Crab, lemon zest and pea puree come together for a perfect savory spring dish

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: International
Servings: 3
Ingredients
  • 1 cup fresh lump crab, picked over for shells and dried
  • .5 cup whole milk ricotta Calabro brand
  • 1.5 tsp very finely minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 tsp very finely minced fresh dill leaves
  • 3 tbsp good quality freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 tsp very fine fresh grated pepper (about 8 turns on pepper mill)
  • 3/4-1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 lemon finely zested (for filling mixture)
  • A few longer strands of grated lemon peel for garnish
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients into a medium size mixing bowl. Use the back of a fork and work your way around the bowl to combine ingredients very, very well. The crab should be broken down and the mixture should be similar to a spreadable cheese. (Optional: Add mixture into a piping bag)

  2. Using your favorite fresh pasta recipe, roll out your dough into sheets and prepare your dough for filling. 

  3. Fill raviolis with about a teaspoon of mixture, or as much as is needed for your ravioli frame. 

  4. After raviolis are sealed, set onto a tray lined with parchment, and heavily floured with semolina so the raviolis do not stick to the parchment. Keep cold. 

  5. Cook raviolis for about 3 minutes in boiling, salted water. Gently add to sauce  pan and plate raviolis with extra crab. Garnish with lemon zest peels. Drizzle with olive oil. Serve hot. 

Recipe Notes

I used the following recipe as the basis of my pea puree with some personal changes along the way. You can use any light, pea or a pea and mint soup recipe, and adjust it to the right thickness and flavor profile. Just make sure it is very silky & smooth.
https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/green-pea-soup-recipe-1945458

Crab Dip

This is, without a doubt, the single most requested recipe I get asked to make by friends and family.

Having tried many crab dip recipes over the years, I can tell you that this is the ultimate Spicy Crab Dip. The recipe is adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s original Hot Jalapeño Crab Dip recipe, to whom I am eternally grateful for creating this easy and delicious dip. I have altered the quantity of some of Emeril’s ingredients, and the directions, to arrive at what I think is crab perfection.  It turns me into a star cook every time.

Ok, lets get down to it.  Selecting your crab.

You want a good crab dip? Use good crab. It’s just that simple.

I know this is not always possible for those of you who don’t have access to a good fish shop, but fortunately for me, we have several around these parts- which means fresh crab is the only acceptable option for me. And for that reason alone, I remain a coastal citizen.

Alright, fresh crab- check.

Now, what kind of crab to use? Claw, backfin, lump, jumbo lump. The options are overwhelming! Actually, no they are not.

Let me repeat a little something I said earlier… You want a good crab dip? Use good crab. It’s just that simple.

And so, jumbo lump is the way to go. Nothing makes a feaster more happy than getting a big ole’ meaty lump of fresh crab and only jumbo lump will do that. When jumbo isn’t an option, lump does the job fantastically, and what Emeril calls for in his original recipe, but avoid claw and backfin meat for this recipe. They do have their place in other recipes, but not this one.

Next, picking a hot sauce. When the recipe calls for hot sauce, use hot sauce- not Tabasco sauce, not Sriracha sauce. Got it? They are not the same thing! Tabasco nor Sriracha should ever be used as a substitute for hot sauce and vise versa in a recipe. They have different flavor profiles and their measurements do not equal each other. For example, a tablespoon of hot sauce is not equal to a tablespoon of Tabasco sauce in a recipe. So in order to achieve the desired result for this gem of a recipe, be sure to use a hot sauce like Frank’s Red Hot Sauce or Chilula Original Hot Sauce. 

The rest of the ingredients are pretty straight forward and don’t require much introduction- mayonnaise, garlic, jalapeño jack cheese, pickled jalapeños and parmesan cheese. So there you have it- everything you need to make this amazing crab dip.

But… hold up a second. A dip is only as good as whatever you dip it with. The ‘dip’ and the ‘dipper’ need to be in perfect culinary harmony. So, no crackers, no chips, no vegetables here. This recipe needs homemade toast points.

The toasts used to take me a while to baste each one with just the right amount of olive oil and it was, simply put, a pain in the ass. I’ve since figured out a trick that makes these toasts super easy and quick to make, while also cutting out a few calories. Instead of basting the toasts in olive oil, I simply use a good olive oil spray. It works out brilliantly and I no longer have an excuse not to make them.

Time to get your dip on!

Ultimate Spicy Crab Dip
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Jumbo lump or lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1/3 lb Monterey Jack cheese with jalapenos, grated
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Hot Sauce, such as Franks
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup diced jarred jalapeños (up to half a cup depending on taste)
  • 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
Crouton Points
  • 1 French baguette- sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • salt & fresh ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F

  2. Combine the garlic, jalapenos, Monterey Jack, Worcestershire, hot sauce, salt, and mayonnaise in a medium-size mixing bowl. Gently mix in the crab.

  3. Spoon the mixture into a 9x9 or other medium-size, shallow baking dish. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese evenly on the top.

  4. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 5 minutes. Serving with the croutons

Crouton Points
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Arrange the bread slices on the baking sheet and spray them with olive oil spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Flip and repeat.

  3. Bake until the croutons are lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before serving.