Into the Fire Blog

For those who burn to learn


Jun 2015

Crab Cakes for Jackie

Posted by / in Into the Fire Blog, Recipes, WCSH6 /


When the weather gets hot in Maine, I love to eat things from the sea and from my garden. One of my favorite summer meals? Maine crab cakes perched on a pretty, crisp salad, drizzled with honey basil vinaigrette. When WCSH6 anchor Jackie Ward let me know she is moving to San Francisco and would appreciate a good crab recipe, I offered to show her how to make this appetizer or luncheon dish. In Maine, it’s best to use peekytoe crab (the the most delicate variety of all Maine rock or sand crabs). Peekytoe crab is not as meaty as Wild Atlantic Jonah crab or the crab Jackie will find in San Francisco, but she can always substitute Dungeness Crab for Maine Crab. Both work beautifully in this recipe. There is no point in masking the subtle flavor of fresh picked crabmeat so when I make crab cakes, I stick with a few simple ingredients. I am fond of using some fluffy white bread (Standard Baking in Portland makes a killer Pain de Mie )as a bit of filler and I coat my crab in Panko (Japanese bread crumbs) for a little crunch. The glue that holds everything together is a little tartar sauce and some egg. Please remember to let the crab cakes sit quietly in the fridge for an hour. The cold temperature allows the seafood, bread and sauce to marry and congeal and the crab cake then holds together pretty well. I like to pan-fry my crab cakes in organic canola oil for a couple of minutes, flip them, and let them continue cooking until they turn golden brown.


Maine Crab Cakes with Honey Basil Vinaigrette
Serves 6
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Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
5 min
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
5 min
Crab cakes
  1. 1 lb Peekytoe or Maine crabmeat, fresh picked
  2. 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  3. 1/2 cup shallots, finely chopped
  4. 2 large eggs
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  6. 2 1/2 Tablespoons tartar sauce (homemade is best)
  7. 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  8. 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
  9. 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley
  10. 4 slices of white bread, crusts removed, torn into tiny pieces yielding 2 cups
  11. 1 cup of Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  12. sea salt
  13. 1 cup of Organic Canola Oil
Honey Basil Vinaigrette
  1. 11/4 cup fresh basil
  2. 1/2 cup + 2 heaping Tablespoons mayonnaise
  3. 3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
  4. 3 teaspoons Maine honey
Directions for Maine Crab Cakes
  1. Heat one tablespoon in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and a smidgen of sea salt. Cook until the shallots are translucent. Let the shallots cool.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, Worcestershire sauce, tartar sauce, zest of lemon, tabasco, parsley and cooked shallots.
  3. Gently fold in the crabmeat and torn bread. The mixture will be wet. Using a medium size ice cream scooper, scoop the crab mixture and carefully shape meat into a small round, press down ever so slightly as you place the crab mix onto a cookie sheet coated with Panko crumbs. The crab cake should be about 2 1/2 inches across and 1 3/4 inches thick. Continue until you've made 12 crab cakes. Sprinkle the top of the crab cakes with panko crumbs and press lightly. Cover the crab cakes with remaining panko, then loosely with a sheet of wax paper. Chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
  4. Pour canola oil into heavy large fry pan and turn heat onto medium till a breadcrumb dropped in the hot oil begins to sizzle. Add 6 crab cakes and cook till golden brown (about 2-3 minutes) on one side. Flip gently and cook on the other side till golden brown. Drain on paper towels and top with a drizzle of Honey Basil Vinagrette. Sprinkle with fresh chopped chives and a little Maine sea salt.
Directions for Honey Basil Vinaigrette
  1. Combine the basil, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, vinegar, honey in a blender until smoothe. Pour vinaigrette into a bowl, mix in remaining tablespoons of mayonnaise.
  1. I like to place the hot crab cakes on a bed of crisp, gently dressed salad greens.
Jillyanna's Cooking School

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