I was reading this Guardian Word of Mouth piece on crab cakes last week, and realised that I'd never eaten one. I'm sure I've had fish cakes with a lot of potato and a hint of crab, but not these American-style crab cakes which have very little filler. So I thought I'd rectify that this weekend.
I used Felicity Cloake's basic recipe, but made a few adjustments based on ingredient availability and the flavours I like.
Recipe (enough for 4-5 crab cakes):
100g fresh crab (half white meat, half brown meat like this one)
100g tinned crab (ideally lump crab)
2 small, mild spring onions, finely sliced
Around 2 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
Around 1 tbsp finely grated grana padano cheese (or similar hard cheese)
A grating of nutmeg
Generous sprinkle of paprika
A bit of salt and pepper to season
A couple of tbsp of plain flour for coating
Sunflower oil for frying
Combine all of the above, except the oil, to form a mixture that is firm enough to form into cake shapes. Lightly dust with plain flour, and refrigerate for an hour or so. I used some brown crab meat in my mix and this seemed to create enough moisture to bind everything so I didn't need to add any egg. Once they've firmed up in the fridge, heat a shallow layer of oil in a large frying pan and when it's hot (but not smoking) gently place the crab cakes in. They are quite delicate, but were relatively easy to turn after a few minutes on each side. Everything in them is cooked, so you're really just heating the crab through and browning the outside a bit.
I really liked these crab cakes served with a bit of salad. They were crispy on the outside, but soft inside, with the brown meat contributing a strong crab flavour. I added a bit of cheese as I quite like to defy convention and have some with seafood, but actually you couldn't really taste it. I think it helped a bit with binding though. I will definitely be making these crab cakes again, but I think I might add some stronger flavours such as chilli, and maybe garlic, as I've found that these combine well with brown crab meat. But anyway, I can now successfully cross crab cakes off the 'to eat' list.