Father's Day

Brigit Binns' Crab Cakes

July  3, 2012
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 12-14 warm bites
Author Notes

This recipe is a perfect showcase for your finest, in-season crab (Merrill likes peekytoe). And sure, you can roast your own red peppers if you like. But we made these with some good quality canned crab and jarred pimientos, and they still turned out to be fresh little bites of summer -- great news for people far from crabs, or crab season. Recipe adapted slightly from Williams-Sonoma Hors d'Oeuvre (Free Press, 2001). —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon water, if needed
  • 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) heavy (double) cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped jarred pimiento (sweet pepper)
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound (500 g) lump crabmeat
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 oz/155 g) fine dried bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 lemon, cut in wedges, for serving
  1. In a small saute pan over low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the celery and onion, cover, and cook very gently until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the water if the vegetables begin to brown. Add the cream, raise the heat to medium, and simmer, stirring frequently to prevent the mixture from boiling over, until reduced and quite thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, pour into a heatproof bowl, and let cool.
  2. Add the mustard, pimiento, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper to the cooled cream mixture and mix well. Whisk in the egg, then add the crabmeat, breaking it up a little but leaving some small lumps intact. Toss gently until evenly mixed.
  3. Pour the bread crumbs onto a plate, spreading them in an even layer. Scoop up a golf ball-sized portion of the crab mixture and gently squeeze out any excess liquid. Shape into a small patty. The mixture will be quite wet and loose. Place the crab cake on the crumbs, then scoop more crumbs over the top. Using a spatula, carefully turn the cake over onto your palm, letting the excess crumbs fall back onto the plate. Turn the cake back over onto the spatula and slide it gently onto a platter. Repeat to make the remaining crab cakes, 12-14 in all. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably 2 hours, or up to 3 hours.
  4. In a large frying pan over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter with 1 tablespoon of the oil. When the foam subsides, gently slide half of the crab cakes into the pan. Cook the first sides until golden brown, 5-6 minutes. Turn and brown on the second sides, 4-5 minutes longer. Keep the first batch of cakes warm in a low oven. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel and repeat to make the second batch of crab cakes. Serve with lemon wedges.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kristin M. West
    Kristin M. West
  • george hamilton
    george hamilton
  • Hector Lahera
    Hector Lahera
  • stateniland
  • dymnyno
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

17 Reviews

Kristin M. July 26, 2019
Is there something you would recommend as a dairy free substitute for the heavy cream?
george H. March 5, 2017
Somehow lost the beginning of my comment. Was about reheating crab cakes a few days later. By the way I used most of Cat Cora's recipe with a few changes: http://catcora.com/recipes/main-dishes/crab-avocado-sandwiches-mango/ . Didn't do the mango but the avocado salsa was great. As was the aioli from this other recipe https://www.chowhound.com/recipes/crab-cakes-29313
george H. March 5, 2017
Seems that the main reheating concern is drying out. Google searched for a straight forward method but didn't find one. I'm going to use the method that I use for smoked Texas brisket. Obviously it's warm when it comes out of the smoker but I always make more than will be used that day. Since smoked meat is essentially "well done", I don't want to heat the left overs in the oven or a frying pan and end up with dry over cooked brisket. So I package portion sized slices with a vacuum "seal a meal" machine and freeze them. When I want some I thaw a package(s) a heat them in a stew pot full of boiling water. A few minutes and they're like they had just come from the smoker. Obviously, I won't freeze and thaw them but I'll seal them boil them and.... Was interrupted by a call from my Son in New York. Anyway, I sealed them, boiled them for about two minutes then fried them in a hot frying pan for about a minute on each side in about 1/2 tsp of butter. Worked well, warm and juicy inside and crispy on the outside.
Hector L. July 1, 2015
Can anyone recommend a brand of supermarket crab meat that tastes like crab, please?
martha1108 October 9, 2016
I love the Costco crabmeat. It's good any way I use it.
stateniland March 3, 2015
dymnyno June 19, 2013
Instead of reducing the cream, could you use evaporated milk?
Kristen M. June 19, 2013
I think you could (but I really like the cream).
gasgirl April 21, 2013
can i fry these and then reheat later in the evening? thanks!!
Kristen M. June 17, 2013
So sorry for the delay -- Merrill has served these at parties and they're pretty forgiving, so you should be fine!
Cathy B. August 26, 2012
These were delicious. I am gluten free, I substituted crushed chips instead.
TheGourmetExperiment August 6, 2012
Great recipe, thanks for sharing!

The shrimp mousse binder recipe was on Cooks Illustrated. I found it the other day.

biscuit July 9, 2012
The recipe you are thinking of was from a James Beard cookbook. I may still have it somewhere...
mojo July 8, 2012

My friend Marge, who is from Baltimore has given us the simplest and very best Crab cake recipe ever.
To each pound of lump crabmeat, add 1/2 of an individual pack of Sunshine original Premium Cracker crumbled as fine as you can do it by hand. Add Hellman's mayonnaise, French's mustard and Old Bay Seasoning to taste(and an egg lightly beaten if you wish). The mixture should be THICK enough to make crab cakes without anything else added. You can saute these or broil them till medium brown. If too loose add more cracker crumbs before cooking. They also make terrific sliders!
slewis2306 July 8, 2012
I'll use panko crumbs for the coating. They're lighter than standard breadcrumbs, don't require as much to coat the little crab cakes, don't absorb as much oil, and still provide a crisper coating.
Choirbell July 8, 2012
This sounds awesome! I'm going to try this recipe and also try using some canned smoked salmon that I had made from some salmon that I caught. Thank you for this recipe that doesn't use a lot of bread crumbs since I'm a diabetic! Thanks!!!!
lizziebeth July 8, 2012
... had crabcakes that used shrimp mousse as binder so it was gluten free - that would be a great recipe to find