Spending much of our childhood and young adult life in and around Maryland, we like to think we know a little when it comes to a great crab cake. We’ve enjoyed countless crab cakes and have come to the realization that our favorite is this one — it’s simple with few ingredients, little filler and tastes of sweet crab. When we’re out at our favorite restaurants, we usually get three options for how the crab cake is cooked: fried, pan-seared and broiled. We hardly ever choose fried, but often go for pan-seared or broiled. We have shared our method for both options below.
1 pound jumbo lump or backfin lump crabmeat, fresh or pasteurized
20 saltine crackers, crushed into crumbs (65 grams or just less than 1 cup of crumbs)
1 tablespoon minced chives or parsley, optional
1/4 cup (55 grams or 2 ounces) mayonnaise, try our homemade mayonnaise recipe
1 large egg
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup (60 ml) canola oil, or neutral flavored oil
1 tablespoon butter
6 bread rolls
Old Bay seafood seasoning
Drain the crabmeat, if necessary, and pick through it for any rogue shells. Toss the cracker crumbs, herbs, and crabmeat together, using your fingers to gently break apart some of the lumps.
Whisk the mayonnaise, egg, mustard and Worcestershire sauce together then stir into the crab mixture. It will look somewhat loose. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Scoop the crab mixture into six 1/2-cup mounds and lightly pack into patties, about 1 1/2 inches thick. Cook the crab cakes — our method for pan-searing and broiling are below.
In a 12-inch nonstick or cast iron skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the crab cakes to the pan. Cook until the underside of the cakes are dark golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes.
Carefully flip the cakes, reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the butter. Continue cooking until the second side is well browned, 4 to 6 minutes.
Position an oven rack 6 to 8 inches from the top of the oven. Turn broiler to high. In a 12-inch oven-safe skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the crab cakes to the pan. Cook until the underside of the cakes are golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
Cut the butter into six pieces then add one to the top of each crab cake. Slide the pan under the broiler and cook until the tops are well browned, 4 to 6 minutes.