It’s All About Crab Crab Cakes


Adapted from the Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook

For 8 crab cakes, serving 4 people

If you’re going to prepare sweet delectable crab cakes, let the flavor of the meat shine through by buying the best grade of crab meat you can afford and judiciously adding seasonings.  The briny sweetness of the crab will be preserved and accentuated.

Crabmeat comes in four grades:, according to the USDA: jumbo lump, backfin lump, flake white and claw meat. The key is that whatever crabmeat you buy, be generous with the meat and don’t overpower it with filling.  Look for plastic containers of fresh crabmeat at the fish market or at the fish counter of the supermarket.


¾ lb. picked jumbo lump or backfin lump crabmeat

3 T high-quality mayonnaise

1 t Dijon mustard

1 T fresh breadcrumbs

2 heaping T flat leaf parsley, chopped

½ t garlic, minced

2 T scallion, minced

½ t kosher salt

¼ freshly ground black pepper

1 large egg, beaten

2 T peanut oil, more if needed

1 lemon cut in wedges for garnish


In a large bowl, place the crab meat and gently fold in the mayonnaise, mustard, breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic, scallion, salt, and pepper until they are thoroughly incorporated.  Fold the egg into the mixture. Mold the crab mixture into 8 cakes and flatten slightly.  Cover with plastic wrap and let them rest in the refrigerator for a half hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat a 12-inch cast iron skillet to medium-high and add oil.  When it shimmers, transfer 4 of the crab cakes to the skillet.  Sauté gently on both sides until browned, about 2 minutes per side.  Transfer to a plate lined with absorbent paper.  Sauté the remaining 4 cakes similarly, adding more oil if needed. Place all the crab cakes on a baking pan and bake for five minutes until heated through. Garnish with lemon wedges and homemade tartar sauce. Do not diminish your crab cakes with jarred tartar sauce.

Tartar Sauce

2 large shallots, finely chopped

2 medium gherkins or cornichons, finely diced

2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 T parsley, finely chopped

1 cup mayonnaise

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.

Photographer Bill Brady
Food Stylist Brian Preston Campbell
Recipe Provided by Phyllis Kirigin, aka sweetpaprika