A basic crab cake recipe involves binding lump crab meat in a matrix of eggs and breadcrumbs, with various flavor components added. The resulting cakes are very loose before they’re cooked, with no developed gluten for structure, so they're very tender and require careful handling.
Typical flavoring ingredients include Worcestershire, Old Bay, hot sauce, mustard, herbs. The key is not to overwhelm the taste of the crab. For a "Louisiana-style" version, we added a little bit of the trinity (onion, celery, bell pepper) pre-cooked in butter, plus lemon juice and herbs. A sauce made with creole mustard and Tony Chachere's is served on the side.
For the crab cakes:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1.5 tablespoons finely chopped green onion – white parts
1.5 tablespoons finely chopped bell pepper
1.5 tablespoons finely chopped celery
1 pound lump crab meat
2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs (for example, green onion tops, flat leaf parsley, celery leaf from the heart)
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and black pepper to taste
Louisiana hot sauce to serve on the side
For the Creole Mustard Sauce:
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp hot pepper, finely chopped
1 tbsp red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 tablespoons Creole mustard
Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning to taste
First, make the sauce by combining the yogurt, hot pepper, bell pepper, and mustard. Add your Tony's in 1/2 teaspoon increments to taste, whisking to combine after each addition. Refrigerate while cooking the crab cakes.
Melt the butter over medium high heat.
Add the onions, celery, and bell pepper, then stir once to coat the vegetables in melted butter.
Cook for 1-2 minutes to soften the vegetables, then remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Beat the chopped herbs and lemon juice into the eggs. Add the crab meat, the bread crumbs, and the reserved onion-chile-butter mixture. Mix to combine all ingredients.
Taste a bit of the mixture and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
Form the mixture into 6 or more large crab cakes, measuring with 1/2 cup measuring.
Heat a generous layer (¼ - ½ inch thick) of olive oil in a pan large enough to easily fit all 4 crab cakes over medium-high heat.
Gently coat each crab cake in cornmeal. When the oil is rippling hot, carefully add the crab cakes to the pan.
Cook until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side.
Serve immediately with the Creole Mustard Sauce, or loosely cover and transfer to a warm oven until ready to eat.
Makes 6 Crab Cakes.