I apologize for not posting; I’ve been overwhelmed between preparing to move, ending my school year, and so on. But no more excuses–I am here to stay!
I prepared this recipe yesterday to help my neighbor Jennifer with her “Surf and Turf” themed Memorial Day party. She was dead set on us making a ceviche, but I know that I am not one that likes to experiment on a large group of people. The little experience I have with ceviche tells me that I should 1.) get the freshest seafood ever and 2.) I need enough acid/time to marinate the fish. And so, I encouraged her to let me go with one of my favorite things to eat instead…crab!
I love crab cakes, crab legs with drawn butter, soft-shell crab, she-crab soup, or a crab gnocchi bake; Zach and I could devour Snow Crab, in particular, for days. Crab has such a distinct sweetness and flavor that it is totally undeniable. Crab cakes are definitely a weakness of mine, but they’re often…mediocre. I’ve had them out and have been disappointed. They can be dry, loaded with fillers (and thus, very little crab), and quite frankly, unaffordable for the average person dining out.
It’s one of the more expensive items you can purchase in a restaurant, and it may be an item you are afraid to make yourself because..
1.) It’s costly–chicken, anyone?
2.) It’s seafood–frightening for some.
But trust me when I say it isn’t that scary at all! And while I agree it’s not the cheapest meal to make, it’s so worth it. For this recipe, I use good quality canned crab (Phillips’). Yes, you could use fresh crab. Sure, you can cook your own crab and pick them to pieces, but you’ll die of starvation by the time you’re finished. Good quality canned crab is appropriate for this dish!
You should make this if you’re a crab lover and/or you’re looking to impress. Even if you’re not entertaining a few guests, this recipe can be easily even made for a single person (yes, you read that right), so that you can make yourself a 15 minute meal that tastes divine.
Now I have a “holiday” crab cake recipe I make, and I also make a salmon cake that is similar to the recipe I am providing here. This crab cake melt, however, is less fuss. When you’re cooking for a crowd, you don’t want complicated. You want tasty and easy, and this is perfectly that.
From all my experiences making seafood cakes (I’ve made tons), the best base has…
1.) Creamy components (Mayo, Sour Cream, and/or Remoulade)
2.) Butter Crackers (Like Club or Ritz)
3.) Sautéed Diced Peppers and/or Onions
Sure, you can make a deep fried one with typical breading (Panko or Italian-Style), but I don’t think that does anything to actually accentuate the natural taste of the crab cake. I personally (and for this recipe) broil, not fry the crab cakes. The flavor is much more prominent, and I believe the crushed cracker breading approach creates the right texture.
Now what heightens this dish (without taking away the excellent seafood flavor) is the cheddar that is melted. This crab cake melt, as the name implies, involves smothering the crab cake in gooey cheese on top of a split English muffin. It’s amazing! The first time I had a Crab Cake Melt was in Downtown Wilmington, NC. Not only was it fantastic, but it was only $9.99 at an awesome place called Paddy’s Hollow.
For the price of two crab cakes at the aforementioned restaurant, you can serve a hearty appetizer for 12, so let’s get started! Again, this recipe can easily be scaled down to a romantic meal for two, so don’t feel the need to invite company over…
Because I doubt you’ll want to share. 🙂
Ingredients for Side Dish: Roasted Asparagus
- 1 bunch of fresh Asparagus
- 1-2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
Ingredients for Remoulade (Make first to add to your crab cake mixture!)
- 3 cups mayonnaise (or sour cream!)
- ½ cup Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce (I like Cholula!)
- 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning blend** (optional)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- 1 tablespoon ketchup, plus more if needed
- 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped capers
- 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
- 2 tablespoons finely diced celery
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely diced green onion tops
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Ingredients for Crab Cake for 2 (Multiply most ingredients by 6 to create 12!)
- 2.5-3 ounces of lumped crab meat (canned)
- 3 tablespoon of sour cream (or mayo)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce (Cholula or Sriracha works for me!)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/6th of a sleeve of Club Crackers, crushed finely (if you’re making for 12, use a whole sleeve)
- 1 beaten egg** (for 12 servings, I only needed 2-3 large eggs to bind!)
- 3 sliced and diced jarred roasted sweet bell peppers OR 3 sliced and diced sweet MINI bell peppers (you must sauté beforehand) FINELY DICED
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons of homemade Remoulade (P.S: If you don’t have time, you can buy this, too–but fresh is best!)
- 1 split English muffin (or 1 package of English muffins for company; I recommend Thomas’ English muffins)
- 2 slices of Cheddar cheese
Directions for Side Dish: Roasted Asparagus
- Slice off woody ends of fresh asparagus.
- On a sheet pan, evenly spread out asparagus. Coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Once oven is preheated to 400 degrees, cook for 10 minutes. Do not cook it any longer than that! If you’re serving this for company, cook the asparagus last.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the mayonnaise or sour cream. Whisk in the mustard, Worcestershire, hot sauce, seasoning blend, paprika, lemon juice, and horseradish. Add the ketchup and whisk together. Add more ketchup as needed to get the pink coloring necessary.
- Once the color is achieved, add in the garlic, capers, relish, celery, parsley, and green onion. Stir to combine and add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Crab Cakes Directions
- First, slice and dice your sweet bell peppers very finely. If your peppers are not jarred (in other words, fresh peppers), sauté them in 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire. Stir until soft and fragrant. Put aside to cool–do not add to mixture until cooled as you are adding them to eggs! You don’t want scrambled eggs, do you now? 🙂
- Once the peppers are cooled (or if they’re jarred, simply diced), add them to a bowl. Next, add the canned crab, hot sauce, Dijon mustard, mayo/sour cream, beaten egg(s), and remoulade. Over the sink, pulverize your cracker sleeve finely. You may use a food processor if you don’t feel like smashing the crackers yourself. Tip: Use your index finger and thumb to break up large pieces! Once the crackers are crushed, add them to the mixture. Stir lightly to combine; don’t overmix! Make sure your mixture looks nice and moist. If it doesn’t look super moist, add a little bit more remoulade, sour cream, and Dijon mustard.
- Next, split your English muffins in half. Toast your English muffins about halfway.
- Once the English muffins are toasted, place sliced cheddar on the bottom of each English muffin half.
- On top of the cheddar, scoop out a generous amount of crab cake mixture that will eventually be distributed on each English muffin slice. You don’t have to shape it with your hands–simply plop on top.
- **Alternatively, you can place the cheddar on top of the crab cake depending on how particular you are about presentation! If the cheese slice is too large, you’re better off putting the cheese on the bottom.
- When ready to serve (and remember, these can be made ahead), broil for about 10 minutes until golden brown.
- Serve with remoulade on top!