Crab Cakes Are an All-American, Unexpected Appetizer

Since your guests are anticipating an array of grilled and classic appetizers that scream Fourth of July, this weekend, why not do something different? Surprise them with a platter of mini crab cakes! They're a luxurious appetizer and all-American favorite.

While I've never met a crab cake I didn't like, when I make them at home, I prefer to use a traditional Maryland-style recipe. My grandfather was born in Baltimore and his cakes are always wildly delicious, but insanely simple. Stirring in too many seasonings takes away from the pure flavor of the crab. Garnished with a dollop of garlicky aioli, these cakes are light and satisfying, and pair with everything from a glass of wine to an icy beer.

They're exceptional with fresh crab; however, if you don't have access to it, Costco sells a stellar can of crabmeat. Get the recipe.

Crab Cakes

Crab Cakes


  1. 1 cup mayonnaise
  2. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  4. 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  5. Cayenne pepper
  6. 1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
  7. Fine sea salt
  8. 1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over
  9. 1 cup finely crushed saltine crackers (3 1/2 ounces)
  10. 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  11. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  12. 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  13. 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the mayonnaise. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and 1/4 cup of the grapeseed oil. Add the lemon juice and season with cayenne. Transfer 1/2 cup of the mayonnaise to a small bowl and reserve.
  2. Using the flat side of a chef's knife, mash the garlic to a paste with a generous pinch of salt. Whisk the garlic paste into the medium bowl of mayonnaise, then transfer the aioli to a serving bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, gently mix the crabmeat with the cracker crumbs, egg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and the reserved 1/2 cup of mayonnaise. Shape the mixture into six 1-inch-thick crab cakes and transfer to a wax paper-lined plate. Or shape into smaller mini cakes. Refrigerate until firm, at least 20 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400°. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil in a large cast-iron skillet. Add the crab cakes and cook over moderate heat until golden on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Carefully flip the crab cakes, then transfer them to the oven and bake until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  5. Transfer the crab cakes to plates and serve with the garlic aioli.

Serves 6.

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