What are Crab Cakes?

Malcolm Tatum

When it comes to creating a simple seafood entrée, crab cakes are a favorite option for many seafood lovers. As a simple round patty that is either pan fried or baked, crab cakes take only a short period of time to prepare. Here are some basic instructions for the preparation of breaded crab cakes, as well as some suggestions for variations.

Crab cakes are usually made with crab meat, breadcrumbs, eggs, milk, onions, and seasonings.
Crab cakes are usually made with crab meat, breadcrumbs, eggs, milk, onions, and seasonings.

The basic crab cake recipe will call for small pieces of crab meat. The meat should be flaked or as close to that state as possible. Along with the crab meat, breadcrumbs, eggs, milk, onions, and salt and pepper complete the requirements for a simple recipe. Combine all the ingredients to form a thick mixture that can easily be spooned into a frying pan. In minutes, you will have a plate of hot and crunchy crab cakes.

Fresh crab meat is usually preferable when making crab cakes.
Fresh crab meat is usually preferable when making crab cakes.

Many people prefer to add other ingredients to this basic recipe. For example, the addition of red and green bell peppers will add an additional layer of flavor to the crab cakes, and also enhance the appearance as well. For a bit of heat in the taste, adding red or green chili peppers are an excellent idea. There are several seasoning mixes on the market today that will add some extra zing to the taste of the crab cakes as well. For some people, adding a personal touch may involve using green onions instead of a white onion in the basic recipe.

Crab cake usually calls for small pieces of crab meat.
Crab cake usually calls for small pieces of crab meat.

The cooking medium for crab cakes can also vary, depending on personal preference. If the idea is to enjoy crab cakes without the added carbohydrates of the oils, then it is a simple task to bake or grill the crab cakes instead. While the texture of the crab cakes will not be as crispy with these two options, the appearance can still be striking, especially if herbs and spices are used to dress up the crab cakes for serving.

Red bell peppers add an additional layer of flavor to crab cakes.
Red bell peppers add an additional layer of flavor to crab cakes.

Along with forming crab cakes, this same basic approach can be used to create crab balls. Often referred to as crab rissole, these round breaded morsels of crab can be formed into balls and then deep fried, making it very easy to enjoy them on a bed of pasta or with a dipping sauce. As with the basic breaded crab cake recipe, it is easy to add other ingredients into the crab balls to suit personal tastes.

While the use of fresh crab meat is always preferable, there are a number of commercially canned and frozen crab meat selections on the market today. Many of these have an excellent taste and will work very well in the preparation of both crab cakes and crab rissole.

Breadcrumbs are used as a binding ingredient for crab cakes.
Breadcrumbs are used as a binding ingredient for crab cakes.

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Discussion Comments

Lostnfound

Crab cakes are really one of those foods where people have strong preferences for their particular style of cake. Some like a lot of crab held together by a few crumbs, while others like a more filling-based crab cake. I like the crab held together by a few crumbs, as long as the cake is well seasoned. I think that's where people mess up a crab cake. They either don't have enough seasoning, or they over-season them. Old Bay is a great seasoning blend for crab cakes. It's not too salty. Lemon pepper also works well since lemon usually goes well with seafood.

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