Tuesday, December 14, 2010

California Crab Cakes


Note: I've been sucked into StumbleUpon. Follow me or something. It can be mutually beneficial, if you know what I mean. Wink wink.

Last night, when I mentioned my condiment preferences and what I would not be putting in these crab cakes, my Twitter feed decided to attack me for my apparently blasphemous ways. My first mistake was announcing that I was going to make crab cakes without mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is gross, people. It's oil and egg whipped into a frenzy. It's weirdly creamy and smells kind of funny--even the homemade kind. I do not eat mayonnaise. Ever.

Apparently, something is also wrong with me because I detest mustard and thus omitted it from my crab cakes. I promised a few of my followers the story of my relationship to mustard. The first thing you must know is that my brother is 14 months older than me. The second thing you must know is that I was a horrifically picky eater when I was a child. I don't recall why I didn't like mustard, but I just didn't. My brother, however, was in love with the stuff. He put it on anything and everything--from the typical burger to potato chips to even cantaloupe once. I think the cantaloupe was to freak me out. Basically, he'd be squirting tons of it onto his plate while I'd sit there grossed out. Somewhere along the line my distaste and his overuse morphed into a fear of mustard. I did not want it anywhere near me. My brother had to sit a few feet away from me along with the mustard. If we went to dinner, the mustard had to be moved onto the other side of the table. If it even possibly touched my food, I wouldn't eat it. And then there was the one time he chased me around the house until he cornered me in the kitchen and squirted mustard all over my arm. I cried.

Mustard is gross. While I am still traumatized all these years later, I have grown out of the no-mustard-on-the-table requirement (though my brother continues to put it right in front of my seat when at a restaurant). I, however, am steadfast in my refusal to not eat a piece of food that has possibly been contaminated by mustard. We're all entitled to our quirks.

So, uh, let's talk about these California Crab Cakes! After finding out that they were to have no mayonnaise or mustard, someone asked if they were going to be seasoned with Old Bay. I've never known a Californian that stocks the stuff, which means that the answer was no. There was a wave of hesitance at my plan, but I forged on anyway and decided I'd do crab cakes my way. California cuisine prides itself on using fresh, seasonal ingredients that are cooked in a way that highlights their freshness and unique taste. It also likes to dabble in the art of fusion. I decided to ultra-indulge in the essence of California cuisine by combining this distinctly American dish with the flavors of Baja, Mexico. My fresh (and seasonal!) Dungeness crab was paired with lime zest, spring onion, paprika, cayenne, and red onion. This made for a unique crab cake with bright flavors that complimented the crab, as opposed to overpowering it. A definite two thumbs up.





Look at all the big chunks o' crab.

California Crab Cakes
Makes 8-10

12 oz fresh lump crab meat
2 large eggs
1/3 cup red onion (or shallot) minced
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
1 tsp. lime zest
1 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/3 cup panko

1/3 cup flour + 1/2 tsp. cayenne


In a large bowl, quickly beat eggs. Add all ingredients from red onion to panko, and mix thoroughly. Gently mix in crab meat, trying not to maintain large pieces. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. In a shallow dish, mix flour and cayenne. Scoop about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of crab mixture into your hands, tightly shaping into a patty. Lightly dredge in flour mixture and set aside. Repeat.

To cook crab cakes, heat 1/8 to 1/4 inch of oil in a large pan. Gently place a few crab cakes at a time into the oil. Do not check doneness or flip over before 3-4 minutes or they may fall apart. Check, and flip when golden, browning the other side. Drain on paper towel and serve warm.


37 comments:

Dee D. said...

Yumm! That looks delicous :) I've never really eaten crab before and this make me want to try some ;)

Kristina @ spabettie said...

I saw the stumbleupon... I kinda followed you there, but I'm confused. :D

I completely agree about mayo. it's one of those things I cannot eat if I think too much about it. you know, like chicken.

crab, though, I could eat every day, and these look SO good!

Jean said...

I bet these were good! I don't care if they don't have mayo, mustard or Old Bay. I have to admit that I like the first two and and the third? I think I've only ever used it for crabcakes. Had to throw out the old can due to old age.

That said, your aversion to mustard sounds a lot like my loathing for the smell of microwave buttered popcorn. I had to politely ask a friend years ago to move across the room while he ate his bag. It was nauseating!

Great job on these crabcakes!

Baker Street said...

Delicious! I'd love to try one right now!

Btw i'm not a big fan of mayo too!

Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels said...

Now that's my kind of crab cake, I love that yours doesn't use mustard (I hate mustard too) or mayo. It looks so much fresher than some crab cake held together with mayo. The addition of lime zest is pure genius! :) Can't wait to try these.

whatsfordinneracrossstatelines said...

I can barely use Twitter, so one technology at a time for me! Oh wow another crab dish for me to want to make! It's perfectly normal to have likes and dislikes. I mentioned you in the crab dish I made tonight, thanks for the inspiration!
-Gina-

Judy said...

I can't imagine why anyone would use mayonnaise or mustard to ruin something as wonderful as fresh crab. I detest mustard and can only barely tolerate mayo. We're having crab cakes tomorrow night, so maybe we'll try your recipe.

Hester Chang said...

My mother makes crab cakes with all those ingredients you listed as no bueno. And they include peas. And, I have only had one bite of her crab cakes, EVER, because they don't tickle my fancy. Yours, however, do scream California cuisine with the healthy, simple, and fresh ingredients. Kudos! Thanks for sharing.

Wendy said...

I adore mayo and mustard. I usually incorporate one or the other in my crab cakes but I love your spin on them. I agree certain condiments can overpower the main ingredient. I definitely want to taste crab when eating crab cakes.

Jason Phelps said...

Where did you find recipes for crab cakes with mustard and mayo in them? I am from the East Coast and my mother hails from Maryland where crab cakes are huge. I don't know what they put in them but I never considered whether mustard or mayo would be in them but rather on them by personal choice. When I make them I use a little egg as a binder but no mayo/mustard. Weird. These look great and I would sure eat them!!

Jason

breadandputter said...

You totally did it! These look fantastic. I was just curious what would be in them - I have no problem at all with the lack of mayo. And mustard is just wrong - who puts mustard in crab cakes? I do occasionally put a little wasabi in a salmon croquette but that's different. Congrats on your creation!

ravienomnoms said...

Those look fantastic! I really cannot resist a crab cake when I see one, has to be one of my top 5 favorite things to eat!

Gabby said...

I've never made crab cakes before but after looking at your picture I'm definitely going to start now!

The Cilantropist said...

I think this sounds amazing, even sans mustard mayo and old bay. Who cares about the way it SHOULD be done, I think it is important to good your way. ;) Well done, love the photos!

Chef Thomas Minchella said...

Down here in the south we have blue crabs and make great crab cakes. I never would have thought to make them without mayo, but they look like they held up great!!

Roxan said...

I don't like mayo either. I'm so glad you made some crab cakes without them! These look amazing... You don't live far from me, will you bring me some? ;]

Burtldy said...

This is a great blog post! I grew up with similar aversions to mayo & mustard. Actually...never really liked condiments when I was a kid. Now that I'm a chef, tho, I eat mayo & mustard frequently. I've grown to tolerate...but the thought of both of them still make me shudder deep down inside.

stephchows said...

huh amazingly simple.... and they look delicious!! I can agree with the mayo... but I must say I love mustard :D

karmaperdiem said...

Mercy me, those look divine! This post was great fun to read!

Caloricious said...

Yum. Can't wait to try one of these

foodies at home said...

These are my downfall! Ohhhh...maybe some homemade tartar sauce on a yummy roll...perfect lunch!!

January said...

i have to admit i'm an Old Bay fan when it comes to crab cakes and i specifically ask friends comin there to the US to bring me one when they go back home. but sans the seasoning, you totally rocked your crab cakes! i wish i can be as experimental as you are. great job :)

A SPICY PERSPECTIVE said...

Ah Brothers, aren't they great? I have two older brothers, so you can imagine how many stories like this I have!

Ok the mustard and mayonnaise situations... I'm not going to attack you--to each his own. But, you do realize it's a leftover childhood mental block. There's no way someone who cooks with such diversity as yourself, "just doesn't like" basic ingredients! You could probably undergo hypnosis and LOVE them both! ;)

Lovely crab cakes, even without mayo!

Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having said...

The only time I ever had crab cakes was in San Francisco about a year ago. I loved them. I wish crab here tasted the same as it did there. Your crabcakes look gorgeous.
Oh, and mustard is gross. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Lauren said...

A+
Except blah needs mustard.

Ms. WhitePlates said...

I went on a mayo ban for about 6 months because I was so weirded out by the packaged stuff so I actually made mayonnaise. It's a delicious pain in the ass. Your crab cakes look delish and while I've only made fish cakes (it's a Nova Scotian thing) I'm pretty sure they didn't have mayo. Hm.

Monet said...

So I'm with you on the mayo...I promptly made Ryan stop consuming the white stuff as soon as we started dating (he converted to hummus and he's been a happy man since!) I love the cleanness of this recipe. I imagine that these cakes taste both fresh and flavorful. Thank you for sharing your words and recipes with me, week after week. Sending love and good thoughts your way!

Lauren said...

Long live mustard!

Megan said...

This is exactly what I would want a crab cake to be. Actually CRAB and not a ton of bread.
I only started eating mayo in the past couple of years. And yellow mustard is right out.

Lauren said...

Mustard!
Mustard!
Mustard!

dana said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Delishhh said...

Crab cakes, YUM! I am a huge fan of crab cakes. The only problem is that crab is so expensive!

Pete said...

I love that you don't hesitate to throw something out of a recipe that you don't like and find creative ways to substitute ingredients.

Nice recipe and yummy photos! Another alternative to mayo (which I love cold on all sandwich-type items but the thought of cooking with it disgusts me) is to use bechamel sauce to bind the mix together. It's a technique a local restaurant came up with and one of our food writers picked up on to use in his crab cake recipe. It's tasty and egg-free for those that are worried about eggs. (But who would that be?)

Here in New Orleans we might add a little bit of what we call "crab boil" as seasoning. It's kind of like Old Bay in flavor, but much more intense. I only recently started using Old Bay in some dishes and its crab boil-like but less intense flavor works well with crab cakes.

Jeni Renee said...

Ha. Just came across this recipe. Yes. Like 3 years after the original post. But it cracked me up. I'm also an anti-mayo girl and your phobia of mustard equals mine of pickles!! I hate the things. Swimming in that liquid and then kids sucking out the inside of the fat ones at sporting events. EW! Anyway. Loving the recipe!!! Thanks for posting!!

sarah main said...

oh my goodness. someone with the same preferences as me. i recently moved to maryland and have been wanting to make my very own crab cakes sans mayonnaise and mustard. thank you. i've also considered using sour cream or greek yogurt.

Joseph Gurley said...

someone after my own heart! i hate HATE mayo too! plan on making these tonight!

Casey Lindberg-Coghill said...

Tried these last night, and GIRL. They are AMAZING. :) We actually took a risk and used canned crab meat instead of the fresh variety, and they were so delicious that I want them again tonight. I also really hate mayo and mustard, but it's so hard to find crab cake recipes without them that actually taste good. So anyways... thank you on behalf of my family! We all licked our plates clean last night. :P

Post a Comment

NOTE: I understand that Blogger is currently having issues with its commenting system. If the comment box or Captcha do not show up, or you experience other problems, please e-mail me with your browser version, whether your Java is up-to-date, and whether you are on a Mac or PC. Please feel free to send your comment my way as well--I appreciate them all and I'm sorry Blogger hates us right now.


Thank you for indulging my narcissistic tendencies and leaving a comment. My ego sincerely appreciates it. As a quick note before you leave me accolades and ask for my hand in marriage, if you need a question answered promptly, you're better off sending an e-mail or a tweet. My computer is all fancy-like and beeps at me when you do.