When I was young, many of my favorite childhood comfort foods involved things from the sea. My Mom’s classic Creamed Tuna on Toast, for example, crispy fried halibut on the pier in my hometown of Seattle, and cheesy casseroles with flaky fish. Everything was wonderful until one frightful day in 6th grade. Biology was my favorite class; I’ve always loved science (went on to get my degree in a science field) and felt quite comfortable at a lab table. So I wasn’t too grossed out when I walked into class one rainy day and found slimy, slippery, squid on our tables. We carefully followed our worksheets, using little scalpels to dissect the squid and identify all of their parts, making note of significant organs, etc. Then we were instructed to pick up our mangled sea creatures and put them on paper plates. We grabbed our plates, squid and all, and walked out of the classroom. Having no idea where we were going, I was surprised when we turned down a particular hallway and entered the Home Ec. room. “Hmm…this is strange.” I thought. “Why would we be carrying our nasty science projects into a room with stoves and frying pans?” Surely we wouldn’t be…
Yes, we would be. It was called “Incredible Edible Day” and not only did we have to fry up the little slimy guys we had just dissected, we then had to eat them (along with some other interesting things, like octopus tentacles, earth worms and fried crickets- pretty sure that wouldn’t fly now days, I’m not even allowed to bring cupcakes to my son’s school!) Needless to say, I didn’t touch squid-or anything else from the ocean again for about ten years. It wasn’t until my mid 20’s that I realized I possibly didn’t have an aversion to seafood– I had an aversion to 6th grade dissected sea creatures in science labs. When I started to tackle my fears and return to my Pacific Northwest roots, I realized when seafood is actually prepared with great ingredients (as opposed to, say, salt, a frying pan, and prepped by 12 year olds) it can be quite delicious. I’m happy to say things like Crispy Baked Fish Sticks and Tartar Sauce, Orange Teriyaki Salmon, Fish Tacos and Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole make regular appearances at our house now and I love playing around with new recipes and discovering seafood dishes my family enjoys. I already know I’m a fan of crab cakes; especially with a tangy remoulade. I spotted this recipe in last month’s Cooking Light and loved that it was in the speedy dinner category. Can’t beat a 30 minute meal!
No, this little guy didn’t turn into a crab cake 😉 I just thought he was cute. I snapped that pic on a beach vay cay last fall.
The remoulade is easy to whip up and most of it is probably already in your fridge. You might not have capers, but they’re a good thing to have around so go get some! You could serve these crab cakes with this dipping sauce as well (one of my favorites) and it involves capers too.
Just whisk the sauce together and pop it in the fridge until you’re ready to eat. You can definitely make it ahead of time as well.
For the crab cakes, combine crabmeat with just a couple tablespoons of mayonnaise, some chopped green bell pepper and green onion and black pepper. I tweaked this recipe to include some lemon as well, because it goes so naturally with these flavors and brightens the whole dish. You’ll add the zest in the crab cakes and use some juice in the remoulade.
Add a beaten egg and some panko bread crumbs. These two things act as binders to hold the cakes together.
Form the mixture into 8 patties. This is a really tender mixture, so work very gently so they stay together.
Dredge each patty in panko, covering both sides. I like to set the patty down in a shallow bowl of panko and press a little extra onto the tops.
Heat a large skillet to medium high heat. Here’s a few tips when you’re browning things like this; whether it be a breaded cake, veggie fritter, or piece of meat. These are especially helpful if you’re using stainless steel and have a problem with things sticking. Heat up your pan before adding oil. Once it’s nice and hot, drizzle in enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Since your pan is already hot, the oil will heat up immediately. Place your crab cakes (or whatever you are cooking) in the pan and don’t touch it!
One of the most common problems comes when you try to flip something too early and the bottom sticks to the pan and you’re left with a huge mess. The great thing about breaded items like this, or even plain chicken or steak, is that it will form it’s own crust and let you know when it’s ready to be flipped. Once it’s sufficiently browned, it will release from the bottom of the pan.
These crab cakes should cook for about 3 minutes, then flip them and cook the other side for about 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Keep cooked crab cakes in a warm oven and repeat process until all cakes are cooked. Serve with the prepared remoulade.
You get a nice crispy exterior, with a soft, flavorful interior. When eaten with the remoulade, it’s bursting with flavor (and in under 30 minutes!)
Simple Crab Cakes with Remoulade
Lightly adapted from Cooking Light, April 2012
1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, shell pieces removed
2 tablespoons finely chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 green onions, finely chopped
zest from one lemon
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs, divided (more if needed)
olive or canola oil for pan
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons minced onion
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon capers, chopped
3/4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/2-1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
pinch of ground red pepper
Mix all remoulade ingredients except lemon juice and red pepper. Add lemon juice and red pepper to taste. Store in fridge until ready to use.
To prepare crab cakes, drain crabmeat on several layers of paper towels. Place crab meat in mixing bowl. Add bell pepper, mayonnaise, pepper, onion, lemon zest and egg. Toss very gently until combined and all ingredients are well distributed. Add 1/4 cup panko and toss again. Place remaining panko in a shallow dish.
Divide crab mixture into 8 equal portions. Form each portion into a patty about 3/4 inches high. Dredge each patty in panko, on both sides, pressing bread crumbs in gently.
Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. When hot, add a drizzle of oil to lightly coat bottom of pan. Place a few patties in the pan (spaced so that none of them touch each other) and cook for about 3 minutes. Let patty cook for a full 3 minutes before flipping. Flip patties and cook for another 3 minutes, until both sides are golden brown. Repeat with remaining crab cakes and serve with remoulade. Yields: 4 servings of 2 crab cakes each, and about 2 tablespoons remoulade.
Whenever we dine out at hibachi-style restaurants they always serve a condiment that resemble remoulade, could it be the same recipe?
Hmmm, maybe?? I really don’t know!
I only had half the amount of crab meat so I added some mashed potatoes to get it to stretch further. These were amazing with their tartar sauce recipe!!
So I’m not a seafood lover, but I’m trying to be adventurous. Two years ago when I was in FL visiting family I tried crab cakes and I thought they were fantastic. So I want to give this a try . . . but I have a question, can I use canned crab? Is canned crab real crab meat or imitation? I wont touch the imitation stuff. Also, is there some difference between panko and just regular bread crumbs? Thanks so much, I think I will also give your fish tacos a go, it’s totally time to give the sea a chance 😉
Canned crab will say imitation on it if it’s imitation. I would ask your butcher for a good recommendation. With the bread crumbs, panko is a japanese style crumb and is flakier and lighter than a normal breadcrumb. They both usually work for recipes calling for either, but they turn out a little different.
Can’t we have your moms creamed tuna in toast recipie? 🙂 sounds good! Makin the crab cakes now by the way! With our Maryland crab! Gonna be different not using our old bay seasoning but we trust ya 😉
Haha! I can remember dissecting squid in 7th grade biology like it was yesterday too! I remember the teacher, the classroom, my lab partner, the smell and of course eating it! LOL! It’s a wonder I like sea food either.
This looks amazing! I’ve made crab cakes before, but this looks like a much more manageable recipe than the one I tried. I especially appreciated the tip about how to prevent breaded items from sticking to stainless steel. I wish I’d known that long ago!
Okay these are amazing!!! Next time I’ll know to double the recipe. Thank you so much.
I made theses yesterday and they tasted great! As a poor college student, I used imitation crab, so maybe I have disgraced this recipe with my cheapness. My only problem was getting these guys to stay together! I must have been too rough with them. Regardless, it was great first experience with a crabcake.
Your crab cakes with remoulade looks tasty.
I am already hungry to see your crab cakes with remoulade photo btw, LOL
You read my mind today! I am craving crab, clams, and shrimps! Awww crab cakes remind me of good ole Baltimore Maryland when on my mission tasted some of the best crab cakes ever!!! Will need to try this! Thanks!
Same!! I came to find this recipe today because of my mission in Baltimore ❤️ Crab will always be one of my favs.
Hi, I love your recipes and blog, you girls are so fun. Sorry my comment is not recipe related, I have been trying to print a recipe and have been unable to creat an account. How do I do that? I tried to find a spot to send an inquiry and couldn’t find that either. Thanks for your help.
I love crab cakes, one of my favorite appetizers to order. These look wonderful, I think I’ve been inspired to try them at home!
I know altering what sounds like an already fantastic recipe is borderline crazy, but what do you think about using a little coconut flour and flaked coconut instead of the breadcrumbs? (You know, for us deprived people who can’t eat wheat.) Do you think it would seriously mess with the flavor of the remoulade, but might be fine with another sauce?
Holly, I’ve got celiac disease and totally feel your pain. When I need to use panko or breadcrumbs in a recipe like this, I like to use finely crushed Rice Chex cereal (gluten free!) or the brand Kinnikinnick makes a gluten free panko available online or at specialty grocers like Whole Foods. Either seems to work. Both have a mild flavor that won’t compete with the other flavors in your recipe and you can still have things you ate back in your wheat-loving days! Hope it helps you!
As soon as I saw this in my email I knew this is what we were having for dinner tonight, but why oh why can they not turn out like the picture? Yours are so pretty and golden and mine are burned in some spots and undercooked in others. Plus the panko kept falling off. What am I doing wrong? I wanted so badly for it to turn out!
Lany- it sounds like your pan may have been to hot. And the panko should stay on if you gently press it in first with your hands. You do have to be gentle!
I would love to make this but need some help on buying the crab. Is it fresh, frozen or canned? I want something that will taste yummy, but not break the bank (if possible).
Mmmmm. I love fish and seafood – but I married a mid-western land-lubber! I am slowly teaching him to appreciate fish that isn’t out of a freezer box and smothered with breading. I use the recipe for crab cakes on the “Old Bay Seafood Seasoning” can; just like Nana used to make. They’re just not right without Old Bay! I may give the remaulade recipe a try though.
Agreed! Gotta have Old Bay on them. But I love the idea of making a dish that I’d normally only even order when eating out. Because everything home cooked is always healthier and at least 2 times better tasting!
I can totally see why you would want to take a break from eating seafood after yout 6th grade truma! crazy
These look so good! I love anything with crab in it.
mmm.. i love it)
I love crab cakes. Too bad my husband doesn’t like them. Maybe I’ll make them anyway
Oh no, you didn’t!!!! If I had to pick one thing only to eat for the rest of my life, it would be crab cakes. And adding in capers…I think I’m going to cry and then tell you two that you are officially my absolute, all-time favorite foodies!!
Just adding–at least in my local grocery (which rates choices) all of the crabmeat is “avoid.” Perhaps elsewhere, there are more and better choices.
Sounds delicious and a lot like some salmon patties I make. Unfortunately, crabmeat rated as “avoid” on the sustainable list, so I’ll be missing out on this one.
That science experiment sounds awful!! This looks tasty in spite of first half of the post! 🙂
Sounds delicious, but do you have any idea (you must have!) how much one pound of jumbo lump crab meat costs, even here in CA? The only seafood that makes me gag is fake crab, so don’t even get started on that. sigh.
It’s actually not that bad where I live- which is surprising because Boise, Idaho is definitely not a hub for fresh seafood! (Although maybe that’s why, haha)
At 33 years old, I am finally growing out of my sea food aversion. I started by eating a fish taco in preparation for a trip to Maui last month. I’ve been there before and felt like an IDIOT for not eating seafood. I am happy to report that I rather enjoyed eating fish in Maui last month. I ate several kinds and loved it all.
Perhaps I am growing up enough to make and enjoy this recipe. I know my husband would LOVE it!
Mmm…love crab cakes! And remoulade sauce. I crave Outbacks remoulade sauce that they serve with the grilled shrimp. I’ve tried to recreate it but can’t quite nail it. Can’t wait to try this!
I love comfort seafood too. I grew up near San Francisco and I love fresh clam chowder. My mom used to make crab cakes. Unfortunately, my family wants nothing to do with seafood. This means, MORE FOR ME!
Can we say dinner tonight? Yummmmy!
Yummy!! Look forward to trying this later on in the week 🙂