Friday, February 17, 2006

Crab Cakes...of the not-crumby variety

My father, who has diabetes, commented that there weren't any really diabetic-friendly recipes on my blog yet (besides the spaghetti squash, which I added subsequently). He had a point – I’m definitely partial to sweets and, more generally, carbohydrates! But being in the diabetic kitchens of my father and my grandfather (who was diabetic for nearly 70 years!), as well as a brief tenure as camp counselor for kids with diabetes, I’m well aware that food doesn’t have to be sweet or carby to be delicious…and it wouldn’t hurt any of us to eat a good deal more vegetables and proteins (and less, say, pie).

So this recipe is a shout-out to my dad! A seafood connoisseur, he knows as well as anyone that there’s only one thing worse than crummy crab cakes: crumby crab cakes. Crabmeat diluted with bread- or cracker-crumbs makes the cakes taste cheap and bland and, worst of all, less crab-like.

This awesome recipe only has 8-10 saltines to a pound of crabmeat…that’s basically just enough to make it stick together, and amounts to about one saltine per cake. Altogether, these cakes are about 4g of carbohydrates apiece. And that’s how a crab cake should be.

Cook’s notes:
1) If buying fresh crab legs and shelling them seems an inappropriate effort for crab cakes (and I pretty much agree), don’t go straight to the canned stuff; many markets carry fresh crabmeat packed in water (like Goldsmith Seafood’s).
2) Lump crabmeat, as opposed to shredded or even backfin, makes a huge difference, if you can afford it.
3) Surprisingly, this recipe is just as excellent without the Serrano chiles, but it’s obviously something totally different. My dad has a pepper allergy, so for this post I’ll be leaving them out (and going easy on the white and cayenne peppers, of course)…but were you to add them back in, it would be 1-2 fresh Serrano chiles, seeded and minced, added in at the same time as the crabmeat.



1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
⅛ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 pound fresh lump crabmeat
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup chopped green onions
8 to 10 saltines, crushed (I go for less, rather than more)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
12 lime wedges


Combine the egg, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, cayenne, Worcestershire sauce, white pepper and salt in a bowl; mix well.

Stir in the crab meat, parsley, green onions, crackers and chiles. Shape into 12 patties. Place on foil-lined tray.

Chill, covered, for 30 minutes or longer.

Sauté the crab cakes on both sides in the butter and oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until brown and crisp; drain.

Serve with lime wedges.

The recipe makes 8 large cakes or 10 small ones. Mmmmm. Enjoy, Dad!

Recipe from True Grits cookbook
by Inc. Junior League of Atlanta


Mom said...

Oh goodie! You won't believe this but I just bought a pound of Premium Hand Picked Lump Crabmeat and I have on hand all other ingredients (if I can use lemons instead of limes?). I'm having crab cakes tonight!!

...I'll be your fan club president!

Jeremy said...

I hope you cook these for me some time soon!

MM said...

That is a gorgeous looking crab cakes! I usually avoid crab cakes because they seem more like breadcrumbs cakes but these are definitely more my style. Excellent!

Lex said...

You (and your mom and dad) are too cute. :)

pinkie said...

I'm glad you have a recipe for crab cakes. Last night I served stuffed salmon with crab and shrimp and my daughter said can I make crab cakes instead-they are so picky.
About the rice oil-it tastes a little buttery or nutty but is really neutral in flavor. yes, it would be the BEST choice for stir fry.
I too am from Atlanta-have you ever been to Fat Matt's Chicken Shack and Matthews in Tucker for the best down home food ever!!
P.S.your crab cakes call for vegetable oil which is not a good choice!

Kate said...

True, true...I almost changed it to canola oil, but I didn't want to make changes to the original recpe as it appears in the cookbook and then cite it (or not--I felt like either would be cheating).
Fat Matt's - LOVE IT! Is the chicken shack different fom the rib shack, or are we talking about the same place (where they give you a stack of white bread instead of napkins)?

Dad said...

Thanks for the great recipe for crabcakes. Mom did it justice for our dinner, tonight. They were excellent. Thanks, also, for the photo credit. I wish it were warmer and not so wet this weekend so I could go riding. Fat Matt's Chicken Shack is next door to the Fat Matt's Rib Shack that you remembered. Both are first rate! Love, Dad.