The key to exceptional crab cakes starts with the quality and quantity of the crustacean. You can't skimp on either. The second criteria is the ratio of wet-to-dry ingredients; you need just the right amount of filler and moisture to hold the cakes together. Too much of either and the delicate crab flavor gets lost or the cakes become mushy. Lastly, gently fold the ingredients together so as not to break up the prized lumps of crab.
- 3 dashes Tabasco sauce
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 Tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon chopped chives
- 2 Teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 Cup mayonnaise
- 1 large egg
- 1 Pound Maryland jumbo lump crabmeat, picked clean and refrigerated
- 1 Tablespoon dried breadcrumbs (not made from bread crust)
- 1 Tablespoon grape seed or canola oil
- Drawn butter, for brushing
Step 1: In a mixing bowl, combine 3 dashes Tabasco sauce, the juice of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning, 1 tablespoon chopped chives, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/2 cup mayonnaise and 1 large egg. Mix until all ingredients are well combined.
Step 2: In a large bowl, gently add about two-thirds of the egg mixture to 1 pound Maryland jumbo lump crabmeat, carefully folding it in so you don't break up the lumps. Check the seasoning; you want to add just enough wet mixture to the crab to have it well seasoned, without adding so much that you have to add extra breadcrumbs. Add just a bit more of the wet mixture if needed. (Do not add it all. Why make it if you're not going to use it? Because all crab meat is different, and some is very dry, and some very wet, and you will end up having to put in too many breadcrumbs.)
Step 3: Gently add in 1 tablespoon dried breadcrumbs to bind the mixture together. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Step 4: Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Step 5: Divide the mixture into four portions and form crab cakes.
Step 6: To a nonstick pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon grape seed or canola oil. Saute the crab cakes until golden brown on one side. Flip the cakes and saute on the other side until golden brown.
Step 7: Transfer the crab cakes to a baking sheet. Lightly brush the tops with drawn butter and finish in the preheated oven for 5 to 7 minutes. Do not overcook; finishing them in the oven helps the cakes bind together.