These are amazing. My friend/practically my brother, Colin, also a regular taste-tester/subject announced after I made these “I am eating at least 40 of these at the party, nobody better want any”. Cool beans. I made about 60. You can, too.
Many of the usual suspects are present- CRAB- one container lump, one container lump/claw mix- THE VERY BEST YOU CAN BUY DO NOT SKIMP. shallot, lime, breadcrumbs, some mayo (but really the tiniestbit), sour cream (secret weapon), and soy (our really big and totally necessary secretest of all weapon). And that root.
I’m talking about fresh horseradish (not whore’s radish, as it’s shape may imply)- don’t be afraid of it, and DEFINITELY buy it. You can use prepared, but this is a really different flavor. In fact, I loathe prepared horseradish and have developed a serious affinity for DIY. See below: So for prep- grate the horseradish the same way you would ginger root- peel it a bit, and use your microplane. We are looking for 2 tablespoons-ish. More if you love peppery-sharp-hotness. Chop the shallot. Not pictured- zest the lime.
Pick over your crab, remove any shells (I had shells in mine- so don’t skip!), and add to a medium mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons soy sauce (low sodium), shallot, zest of one lime, the horseradish, 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs, and 2 tablespoons mayo, as well as 1/3 cup sour cream. Mix to combine. Now taste it! This should taste like really flavorful crab salad. There’s nothing raw or eggy yet- so do it! Adjust- more soy? (be judicious, a little goes a long way), more horseradish? Does it look dry? Add a little sour cream. Refrigerate the crab mixture for about an hour. Meanwhile, make the breading: Just regular flour and plain bread crumbs- 1 cup of breadcrumbs, 1 cup of flour. Whisk 2 eggs, and set up your breading area. Have a parchment lined baking sheet ready to go. It’s not going in the oven… so if you need to throw some parchment over some Christmas sprinkle crusted pans, I understand. And scoop out the crab into mounds. I used a melon baller- if you have fancy 2 teaspoon-ish cookie scoops, feel free to use that. I don’t. HOWEVER, if you would like to make bigger crab cakes- by all means- DO SO. To bread: Take a mound, and press together lightly with your fingers. Dip into the egg first (and fast, since these are going to be a little fall-y apart-y at this stage. Don’t worry)- and get them into the flour asap. Coat well. Place back on the baking sheet. See my mess? Totally ok. You will have two baking sheets of beautiful crabby goodness when you are done. I popped mine into the fridge for a hot sec while I attended to some other business. Not necessary, but it does help them fry up nicely! Get yourself set up to shallow-fry. A small saute pan (I used an 8″- plenty of room for the amount that you would want to cook), I fried in Canola oil. You could use peanut, too- but I wouldn’t use olive oil, butter, etc. My pan is coated in maybe 1 cm of oil. I dropped a pinch of flour in it to see if it was hot enough- since it sizzled, it is hot! You probably want to cook about this many at a time. They go FAST. Be ready with a flipping too (or in my case, a flipper tool and a fork for better control). Flip when golden on one side- Cook until golden on the other side- then remove to paper-towel lined platter/baking sheet/plate. Once they are all done getting fried, they are, essentially done. You can serve them at this point- but if you are like me- you are looking for ways to get things done ahead of time.
To freeze- arrange the cakes in a single layer on a baking sheet or a tray that fits in your freezer. Freeze for one hour, then transfer to a freezer bag. Store in the freezer for up to 2 months, until you are ready to use them. So you see- you could double or triple this recipe, go on a crab cake making spree- and have them ready and waiting for your guests.
For hot, crispy, delicious crab cakes that are ready when you are- preheat an oven to 425 and bake them until hot and crisp- 10 minutes.
For the sauce:
You can use sour cream or greek yogurt; either works really well. I used a little bit of thai chilli- feel free to leave it out if you want (or sub jalapeno or whatever pepper you like), the juice of the lime we already zested, and some grated ginger. I like to get the peppers and ginger into the lime juice first- the acid semi-extracts a nice, even flavor. Just add about a cup of sour cream/yogurt to the lime and ginger mixture, and stir well.
- 16 oz fresh crab meat (or canned- but buy best quality)- at least 8 oz should be lump
- Zest of 1 Lime
- ½ of a large Shallot, minced (or one small)
- ⅓ Cup Sour Cream
- 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce (low sodium)
- 2 Tablespoons freshly grated horseradish. If using prepared, reduce to 1 tablespoon (use a microplane and proceed exactly as if you are grating ginger)
- 1 cup + 4 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs
- 1 Cup flour
- Salt and pepper
- Pick over the crab and remove any shells.
- Add shallot, lime zest, soy sauce, and horseradish; add 2 tablespoons of mayo and ⅓ cup of sour cream. Taste. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Stir in 4 tablespoons of breadcrumbs.
- Chill the crab mixture for one hour.
- In a shallow dish (for breading) combine remaining breadcrumbs and flour. Whisk the eggs into another shallow dish; season eggs and flour with salt and pepper.
- Form the crab cakes- using a melon baller or 2 small spoons- form crab cakes that are approximately 2 heaping teaspoons large - 1 tablespoon sized. You will have approximately 60 cakes. Form the crap lumps into more cohesive cakes, and then dip in egg, and then flour. Feel free to press them into a prettier shape. Working quickly, repeat with all of the cakes.
- Heat oil in an 8" saute pan. Prepare an area for cooked crab cakes to "land"- a sheet lined with paper towels.
- Fry cakes in hot oil 1-2 minutes per side until golden brown, flipping once. Sprinkle hot cakes with a little salt and pepper.
- Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the freezer for one hour; then transfer to a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze for up to 2 months.
- To reheat: preheat an oven to 425 degrees; bake the cakes for 10 minutes until hot and crispy.
- Top the crab cakes with sauce if desired!
To serve: dollop each cake with sauce, or serve sauce on the side. Garnish with cilantro and a little chopped chilli if desired! Look how festive!