I grew up in northern Michigan where fresh water fish are plentiful. Real crab meat was always considered a plastic-wrapped daydream in the seafood section of my hometown grocery store. In fact, my first experience with crab cakes was in college when a couple of friends and I dined at a “fancy” restaurant to celebrate the end of finals. They were terrible! As I have grown older, I have had the opportunity to enjoy more flavorful crab cake varieties. But, I have never attempted to make them myself.
So when crab meat came on sale recently, I knew it was time to give it a whirl. I have no doubt this recipe will be tweaked and adjusted as I road test it on my friends. But for now, these are wonderfully moist with a hint of spice from the red pepper flakes.
2 Tbl. + ¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbl. butter
½ cup celery, small diced
¼ cup onion, small diced
1/3 cup green pepper, small diced
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 Tbl. fresh lemon juice
3 Tbl. mayo
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1 lb. lump crab meat
In a small sauté pan, heat the butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the celery, onion, green pepper, red pepper flakes and garlic powder to the pan. Toss constancy and cook for 2 – 3 minutes, or until the green peppers are tender. Set aside to cool.
Toss the Worcestershire sauce, lemon zest, lemon juice, mayo and Dijon mustard in a medium mixing bowl until well combined. Add the crab meat, bread crumbs and the sautéed vegetables to the mixing bowl. Mix until fully incorporated together.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil. Form the crab mixture into 6 – 8 patties and place onto the lined sheet pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This step is very important to keep the patties from falling apart during the frying process.
In a large frying pan, heat ¼ cup olive oil to medium high. Gently add the crab cake patties to the hot oil. Fry for three minutes, or until golden brown. Flip and repeat. Drain the crab cakes on paper towel. Serve with your favorite tartar sauce.