Published July 1, 1995.
Use Atlantic blue crab with a minimum of binder, chill, then pan-fry.
We consumed far too many crab-flecked dough balls at beachside shacks before realizing we always found the best crab cakes at home.
We came up with this recipe after experimenting endlessly with dozens of recipes looking for just the right crab meat, binder, and cooking technique.
For great crab cakes, the bottom line is top-quality crabmeat, that means Atlantic blue crab, the kind that is labeled "jumbo lump." Fresh lump blue crab is available year-round but tends to be most expensive from December to March. Once we had figured out what type of crab to use, our next task was to find the right binder. We settled on fine bread crumbs because of their mild flavor--they don't overwhelm the flavor of the crab--and because they are easy to mix in. The trickiest part is knowing when to stop; crab cakes need just enough binder to hold them together but not so much that the crab gets lots in the seafood. Even with much of the recipe nailed down, we still had trouble keeping the cakes together as they cooked. We discovered the key was to let the cakes sit in the refrigerator for as little as half an hour. The cold firmed up the cakes so that they fried into perfect plump rounds without falling apart.list of recipes