RERUN Episode 19: Crab Cakes with Tomatoes and Corn on the Cob

07.23.2019 - By Cooking in Real Time

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This week, I put together a very quick late-summer meal: Maryland-style crab cakes, sliced tomatoes and corn on the cob with butter. (Note: after this episode, the podcast will be on break until August 20.)

Shopping list

* Lump crab meat, 1 cup or so (about 1/3 or 1/2 pound) * Egg* Mayonnaise* Dijon mustard* Old Bay * Bread crumbs or saltine crackers * Baking powder * Ripest, juiciest tomato you can find * Corn on the cob * Butter

Baltimore-style Crab Cakes

More summer on a plate!

First, a disclaimer: the ingredients here are all Maryland, but the actual shape of the crab cake is not. (I guess I instinctively replicate the salmon cakes my mom used to make for dinner.) For a more authentically Baltimorean look, see the note and the photo at the end, both provided by Peter.

Now let me just say: there is nothing better than a really simple crab cake with very good crab. So, while there are some varieties of canned crab that are passable, most of them are awful, and you should make an effort to get fresh (or at least pasteurized) crab meat–see the note at the end for more details.

Serve with sliced ripe tomatoes, generously salted, and corn on the cob, boiled in salty water for just a couple of minutes. In the podcast, I drain the water off the corn, then toss a bit of butter into the pot with the hot corn and shake it around to coat everything–much easier than trying to smear butter on at the table. Be sure to drizzle any remaining butter-and-corn-water over the corn and tomatoes when you put it on your plates.

Serves 2 with summer (ie, somewhat light) appetites
1 egg
1 cup lump crab meat (about 1/3 pound; see note)
Large dollop mayonnaise (about 1 tbsp)
Small dollop Dijon mustard (about 1 tsp)
Old Bay, to taste
1/4 tsp baking powder
1-2 tbsp bread crumbs or crushed saltine crackers (see note)
1 tbsp butter

Whisk the egg up in a small bowl until the white and yolk are well blended. Place the crab meat in a larger bowl, then drizzle in about half of the whisked egg. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, Old Bay (start with about 1/2 teaspoon; add more if you like spicy, or if your Old Bay is showing its age) and baking powder and mix well. The mix will likely be beige-orange from the Old Bay, and fairly wet. Add the bread crumbs, starting with 1 tablespoon, and adding a bit more if the mix still looks like it won’t hold its shape when scooped with a spoon. (If you’re making the mix in advance, don’t add any extra crumbs–as the mix sits, the crumbs will absorb more of the moisture.)

The raw crab cakes.

Shape the mix into two crab cakes, as in the photo (or see the more traditional method in the notes below). Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. When the butter is bubbling, slide the crab cakes into the skillet and turn the heat to medium-low. Place a lid over the skillet for about 2 minutes to cook through to the center of crab cake. When the bottom is nicely browned, after about 4 minutes, flip it and brown the other side. The crab cakes are done when they’re nicely browned and moist but not oozing liquid inside.

Crab: If you live on the East Coast, you can probably get fresh, cooked lump crab meat from a good fish store. Backfin crab meat is good too–a little more shredded,

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