Spicy Crab Cakes

February 11, 2008 | Chuck
Spicy Crab Cakes

Crab or lobster? Which crustacean do you prefer? I'm a crab person, without a doubt. Yes, it's more work to eat crabs, but crab meat to me is more flavorful and sweeter. Each summer, when I lived in Delaware, we would get a bushel of Old Bay seasoned Maryland blue crabs and a keg of beer and have a crab eating fest. Hungry Bear is sick and tired of hearing this story every time someone brings up blue crabs, so I'll stop reminiscing now.

Through the years, I've looked for a good crab cake recipe and tried out many of them. I've tried recipes with fillers of white bread, saltines and breadcrumbs. I've tried ones with eggs, mustard, mayonnaise, Worcestershire, Old Bay and many other ingredients. In the end, my favorite recipes were the ones with simple ingredients that didn't overpower the taste of the wonderful crab meat.

After tweaking a recipe my Mom clipped out of a newspaper years ago, I finally have a great crab cake recipe. For the binding agents, I used a few tablespoons of mayonnaise and a little milk. And for the filler, I used panko breadcrumbs, which are lighter and flakier than regular breadcrumbs. I've made the crab cakes with Italian parsley and cilantro. Both are good in the cakes, but I prefer the cilantro. The last touch is a little bit of chili garlic sauce for some spiciness.

The final product is a lovely crab cake with hardly any filler and pure sweet crab flavor. There's not much more to say. I think this picture of crab cake innards speaks for itself.

Spicy Crab Cake Innards

Spicy Crab Cakes Recipe

SND Note: To prevent the crab cakes from falling apart while cooking, make sure to refrigerate the cakes for at least an hour before frying. For more traditional Maryland crab cakes, replace the cilantro with flat leaf parsley and omit the chili sauce.

1 pound cooked crab meat, remove any shells or cartilage
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup fat-free or low-fat milk
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
6 green onions, trimmed and minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2-3 teaspoons chili garlic sauce or to taste (optional)
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
3 cups mixed greens
1 lemon, cut into wedges

1) In a large bowl, combine crab meat, panko, milk, mayonnaise, cilantro, green onions, salt, pepper and chili sauce. Moisten hands with water and form crab mixture into 8 cakes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

2) Lightly coat each cake on both sides with flour. Heat olive oil or butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the crab cakes until crispy and golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Serve crab cakes on a bed of mixed greens with lemon wedges.

Makes 4 servings

[tags]spicy, crab, cakes, easy, cilantro, panko, breadcrumbs, seafood[/tags]

18 Comments on “Spicy Crab Cakes”

  1. Donald said:

    Delicious pix. I love both lobster AND crab as well as most, if not, all seafood especially shellfish.

    Being from the Philadelphia area, I used to take quick excursions to Inner Harbor or Chesapeake Bay to get blue crab. We would get them by the bushel along with plenty of beer and settle around some newspaper-topped crates and have at it.

    I agree, the less filler the better. I too, use Panko in mine and just gently fold the rest of the ingredients to keep the lumps. I do like the idea of the extra spicy element.

  2. JEP said:

    Those crab cakes have to be the most beautiful ones I’ve ever seen! Your ingredients do sound absolutely perfect!

  3. I am a crab cake fanatic — and a spicy food fanatic — so right now I’m in heaven reading this recipe! Lately I’ve been using panko in my crab cakes, too, and I love how much lighter they are with these great Japanese bread crumbs. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  4. I have never tried lobster so I’m a crab person for now. And even if I weren’t these would make me change my mind – they look so good!

  5. Jon King said:

    This looks good Chuck, I’m printing it out to try it. I told my dad about this website and he offered to send you a list of the 100 most healthy foods. He is into the health food kick…let me know if you want the list.

  6. CC said:

    Perfect! I was just thinking the other day that I need a new crab cake recipe to switch things up from the traditional and I am a cilantro NUT! Thanks!

    Oh, and I agree with you—I’m a crab person too!

  7. Chuck said:

    Donald, I love lobster too, but I’m just a little more partial to crab meat. Blue crabs, beer, corn on the cob at a wooden table covered newspapers… great memories, good times! You brought up a good point about gently folding the crab to keep the lumps.

    Lydia, panko rocks! I substitute panko for regular breadcrumbs as much as possible.

    Patricia, I’m glad you are a crab person, but you have to give lobster a try!

    Jon, I would love to get the list of healthy foods from your dad.

    CC, crabs rule! But if someone offered me a lobster roll with some cilantro, I would happily devour it too!

  8. Kevin said:

    Those crab cakes look really good!

  9. dp said:

    Definitely a crab person here. And those yummy!

  10. DocChuck said:

    Great job for a “West-Coaster” ;>)

    Your recipe is right up there with our best old-Baltimore “secret recipes” for the Beautiful Blue. Oh, and your photos are super.

    PS: I like your chili sauce idea, but I’ll pass on the cilantro.

  11. sophie said:

    you’re missing the old bay. It’s not a MD crabcake without it!!! From a born and raised Marylander!!

  12. monica said:

    Made this last week and used the extra crab and old rice to make crab fried rice. It was delicious. We mix sriracha with Kewpie mayo to serve with the crab cakes. Love this recipe, a definite keeper.

  13. Rebecca said:

    Just tried these last week. We loved the spicy kick to them ! Will definitely make them again soon!

  14. Steven Faul said:

    These look very good. I’m trying it when friends from Texas come to town. But i’m adding 1 tbsp of Tobasco Green Pepper Sauce in subsitution to the garlic sauce to give it a little extra zing. It’s not as hot as the red sauce and has a much more mellow flavor.
    And I’m in Washington state so I have to use Dungoness crabs instead. But when I get back to the East Coast I’ll be back to the land of the beautiful Blue Crab.

  15. Jaden said:

    I’m definitely a crab person! But I like crab in shell, cracking, digging and sucking all the meat and juices out!

  16. Jenni said:

    What kind of crab meat did you use? Did you boil fresh crabs and used the meat or did you buy the precooked?

  17. Chuck said:

    Jenni, boiled fresh crabs would be phenomenal, but we just bought precooked crab meat.

  18. Jeannie said:

    We are going to a dinner party on Saturday night with approximately 16 people. I will be making these ahead of time and cooking them when we get there. I make a great dipping sauce with 1/4 c mayo / 1/4 c miracle whip / tbsp lemon juice / tbsp sweet chili sauce and tbsp sriracha (sp) / parsley for colour … it is to die for and brings the heat element up just a tad. Thanks for the great recipe!!

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