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Lump Crab Cake with Roasted Garlic and Basil Tartar Sauce Recipe


Lump Crab Cake with Basil Tarter Sauce

Perfect for a special occasion, this take on a classic crab cake boosts the traditional flavor profile with the addition of roasted garlic puree, aioli and jumbo lumb crab meat. Chef Michael DeMaria of Heirloom Restaurant in Scottsdale, Ariz., tops the panko-crusted cake with creamy basil tartar sauce.

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For the aioli:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup canola oil

For the crab cakes:

  • 1 pound jumbo lump crab meat
  • 1/4 cup aioli (recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice reserved
  • 1 tablespoon roasted garlic puree
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs, preferably panko
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, preferably canola
  • Salt and pepper

For the basil tartar sauce:

  • 1/4 pound fresh basil
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup gherkin pickles
  • Pinch of fresh dill, chopped
  • Salt and pepper


For the aioli:

Add one egg yolk, ¼ cup of lemon juice, salt and pepper, and a little water to a blender. Turn the blender on high, and slowly drizzle in 1 cup of canola oil to form emulsification. The end product should be about a little thinner than prepared mayonnaise.

For the crab cakes:

Mix crab, aioli, basil, zest and lemon juice and garlic in a bowl until all ingredients are evenly incorporated (take care as not to break up the lump crab too much while mixing). Season with salt and pepper. Place the crab mixture into a square or round mold, or form into cakes by hand. Once cakes are formed, line a baking pan with bread crumbs, push cakes onto crumbs to form a light crust on both sides.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat sauté pan to medium heat and add oil. Once the oil is warmed, gently add the crab cakes (one or two at a time to avoid overcrowding) and brown lightly on both sides, about 2–3 minutes. Place finished cakes onto a baking pan and bake for 3-6 min, or until warmed all the way through.

For the basil tartar sauce:

Place the basil, egg, and lemon juice into a blender, and slowly drizzle in oil to make a basil aioli. Once emulsified, transfer the aioli a bowl and fold in all other ingredients, resulting sauce should be slightly chunky.