About Crabmeat: The best crabcakes are made with hand-picked, lump backfin crab meat from steamed Chesapeake Bay blue crabs. Unfortunately, that's impossible to find in most places in the U.S., and even in Maryland, it's only available seasonally. I use refrigerated lump crabmeat from Costco, which works fine. Never use canned crabmeat. Claw meat does not make good crabcakes.
About Breading: Most commercial crabcakes are lousy, even the ones at very expensive restaurants, mainly because they put too much breading in them. Bread crumbs are a lot cheaper than crabmeat. Bread crumbs act as a binder, keeping a crabcake together. My recipe uses a minimum amount of bread crumbs, so you have to be careful handling these crabcakes to prevent them from falling apart. - Mark Tarses
1 large egg
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (1 ounce)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 pound lump backfin crabmeat
1/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying
In a large salad bowl, using a wire whisk, mix together the egg, mayonnaise, mustard, pepper, Old Bay, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix until frothy. Do not add salt. Old Bay is very salty.
Place the crabmeat and bread crumbs in the bowl. With your hands, gently toss everything together, taking care not to break up the lumps of crabmeat. Put the mixture in the refrigerator for an hour before forming the crabcakes to allow the ingredients to mix. Form into crabcakes with your hands. I use a 2-1/2" diameter ice cream scoop to measure portions. Cook your crabcakes at room temperature, not cold just out of the refrigerator.
Fry or Broil? I generally broil them. My biggest problem with frying crabcakes is that it smells up my kitchen for days afterward, even with windows open. It's also more work to fry, there is the leftover oil to dispose of, and it's not as healthy as broiling. The flavor is pretty up the same either way.
For Fried Crabcakes Heat the oil to 375 degrees. Gently place the crabcakes in the oil with a metal turner. Deep fry the crabcakes a few at a time until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove and drain on paper towels. Serve at once with freshly made tarter sauce.
For Broiled Crabcakes These are really oven-baked, not broiled. Place a dab of soft butter on top of each preformed crabcake. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place a little oil in an oven-safe frying pan or heavy skillet. Put the pan in the oven and get it hot. Place the crabcakes in the hot pan, put the pan in the oven and bake for 6 minutes. Remove the pan, turn the crabcakes oven and put back in the oven for 3 more minutes.
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