Crab cakes…there are hundreds of “best crab cake” recipes out there…and then you arrive at this one! When creating the concept for this recipe I had the opportunity to tour a number of Seattle’s best seafood restaurants and the one thing that stood out was that all the Dungeness crab cakes were a pancake style. I decided to make a “tower” version, taller, looser, more tender, a style that stands up and captures your attention!
The Perfect Crab Cake
To truly be a great crabcake there are a few things which must be present in the recipe: use fresh crab meat, fresh herbs & fresh produce whenever possible. Use all ingredients to enhance the recipe, but do not use them as “filler” ingredients. Panko, bread crumbs, and mayo are common in virtually all crab cake recipes. But the distinction between them being used to enhance/construct the recipe or being used as a “filler” to extend the recipe (and therefore make it cheaper to produce) is the amount of these ingredients used.
Panko/bread crumbs should be used to in the recipe mixture in small amounts to absorb excess liquid and help give structure or stability. Mayo or sour cream is also used to help bind or give structure, but is also used for mouth feel, to add some moisture and “silkiness” to the dish. In this recipe panko is also added to the top and bottom of the towers because when sautéed it will add some “crunch” and therefore add another component of mouthfeel to the dish.
If you are making a large batch of crab cakes and your mixture will be at room temperature for more than 15 minutes you should put your crab mixture in one bowl and set that bowl over and ice bath in a larger bowl. This will help keep the mixture cold while you work with it and ensure the product meets the food safety health codes.
For making the towers I use plastic ring molds from Matfer. These molds are pricey but they are a little taller than standard metal ring molds and I like the height which they give these crab cakes. But if you have regular molds they will certainly do the job.
Crab cakes are served with a variety of accompaniments including tartar sauce variations. For this photo shoot I paired them with 3 remoulade sauces: Lemon, Black Pepper-Dill, and Dijon-Honey. And I added an Apple-Watercress Salad.
Dungeness Crab Cake Tower with Roasted Corn
Fabulous, sweet Dungeness crab coupled with roasted fresh corn, apple bacon, fresh chives and tarragon! Forget about the typical flat pancake style of crab cakes, these puppies are towers!
- 1/4 Cup Corn Kernels, roasted
- 12 Oz Dungeness Crab meat ightly squeezed to remove excess moisture
- 2 Tbl Fresh Chives, minced
- 1/2 Tbl Fresh Parsley, chopped
- 3/4 Tbl Fresh Tarragon, chopped
- 1/2 Tbl Fresh Dill, chopped
- 1 1/2 Tbl Red Bell Pepper, brunoise
- 1 1/2 Tbl Yellow Bell Pepper, brunoise
- 2 Tsp Dijon Mustard
- 3 Tbl Panko
- 3 Tbl Apple Smoked Bacon 1/4" dice
- 1/3 Cup Mayo (Bestfoods)
- pinch Sea Salt
- pinch Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Each Egg, lightly beaten
1. Brush corn on the cob lightly w/ olive oil, roast in oven or over grill. Chill. Remove kernels.
2. Gently fold all ingredients together until mixed well.
3. To form the crab cakes into towers use a #50 plastic ring mold. Press the mixture into the mold until firmly packed, then gently press it out. Lightly dust the top & bottom of the towers w/ panko.
4. To serve, cook in saute pan until lightly browned on one side, turn over and finish in oven.