Crab cakes are found on menus everywhere, but I have to admit I am a crab cake snob. I don’t enjoy when there are lots of extra add-ins used as fillers to make up for a lack of crab meat.
Crab is always the focus in Maryland style crab cakes. The meat is left in large chunks or lumps rather than shredded into small pieces.
The perfect crab cake should include an abundance of large lump-meat pieces loosely packed together with few other ingredients, just enough to enhance the seafood flavor of the crab. It should then be cooked to a crispy golden brown on the outside. Crab cakes are perfect for someone who does not enjoy a wide range of seafood because it does not have the fishy smell.
There are several different grades of crab meat sold already out of the shell in stores or online for purchase.
Jumbo lump crab (also known as colossal lump) is the highest quality – the pearly white large chunks of crab come from where the crabs connect to the swimmer fins. They are the most expensive because there are only two of these per crab.
Lump crab meat comes from broken pieces of jumbo lump crab and large chunks of body meat. It’s slightly less expensive than the jumbo grade but still has great flavor and a bright color (should be white to slightly off-white). I prefer this for crab cakes because it is slightly less expensive, but you still get large chunks!
Backfin crab meat, consists of smaller pieces of broken lump crab meat mixed with smaller pieces of body meat. It is still textured and has good flavor though not my favorite for crab cakes.
Claw meat is small and looks more shredded and is a pinkish-tannish color. It is very flavorful but too shredded for crab cakes and is best in soups!
Crab cakes are classically served with remoulade sauce, a zesty aioli or mayonnaise based condiment seasoned with savory herbs. It is typically used to accompany fried seafood dishes.
Add these crab cakes to a toasted brioche bun with some arugula and remoulade for a delicious sandwich. This is one of my favorite meals in the summer.
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