Saturday, July 23, 2016

Carrabelle Crab Cakes

I know I titled this Crab Cakes, my way, but really any time you make any kind of dish, you make it 'your way'.  Whether you follow the directions to a 'T' or put your own twist to it, no two people will make it exactly the same.  I did re-title this to Carrabelle Crab Cakes.

Crab Cakes aka Carrabelle Crab Cakes
And that goes doubly, triply, multiple times for Crab Cakes.

A few weeks ago I was chatting with a friend and we were talking, casually, about various things.  You know, sealing wax, cabbages and kings.
She mentioned that a couple of local guys were talking about their crab cakes and how they thought theirs were good and I said I make a mean crab cake as well.   And the rest is history.

The upshot is that a lot of people around here swear their crab cake is the best.

I  put my money where my mouth is and competed against three very good cooks in our first Annual Crab Cake Cookoff.  And best of all, this was also a very well attended fund raiser for the Crooked River Lighthouse, the goal of which is to replace the 'pirate ship Carrabella' which was burnt last year. 

Did I mention I won?  Well, I did.

Although the Lighthouse was the big winner here.  I just got a cool trophy and bragging rights. giggle.

I'm sharing the winning crab cake recipe here.   I don't believe in 'secret recipes', I think we should all have the ability to cook to the best of our skills and knowledge.   And that includes how to make something as simple and yet polarizing as a Crab Cake.

In my opinion a Crab Cake should be a simple thing to make.  Nothing fancy, just crab, a little bit of filler, and something to make it stick together enough so you can make cakes out of it and either fry them or bake them.  Either way is good.

Personally, I like mine fried in a little bit of butter and olive oil.

Recipe:   Carrabelle Crab Cakes   Yield: 4-6 good sized crab cakes or about 25 small appetizer size crab cakes.

1 lb. Lump Crab Meat
20 saltines, crushed, not too fine
1/4 cup Mayonnaise  (I love Dukes Mayo for this, as it's so thick and rich and most like my own homemade mayo)
1 egg, separated
1/2 tablespoon Sambal Oelek Sauce  (use less if not a fan of hot stuff)
flour for dredging
butter and olive oil for frying.
Chives for garnish
Lemon and Lime slices for garnish as well. 

Crush the saltines until they resemble a fine crumb, but don't pulverize them completely.
Crushed Saltines
  Set aside.  Beat the egg white until it's nice and fluffy but not stiff.
Mix the egg yolk, Sambal Oelek and the mayonnaise together.

  Fold in the beaten egg white, set aside for a minute.
Put the crab meat in a large bowl, pick through it if needed to get bits of shell out, but don't break up the crab too much.  I mean it.  Treat this as if it were the most fragile cake batter you've ever made.  

 Sprinkle the saltines over top of the crab and mix in gently.  This will help to absorb any liquid in the crab. 

 Fold the egg/mayo mixture into the crab, using a spatula and lifting up from the bottom and the sides.  Just until it's incorporated. (or in my case I started to lift the mixture up from the bottom with my handy dandy blue gloves and then switched to a spatula)

I know I keep saying gently, I mean it too.  The whole point is to keep the crab in as big pieces as possible.
When ready to cook, heat a pan up with some butter and olive oil to medium high.  I actually made some Ghee as the solids in the butter can burn very easily.
Make crab cake patties using an ice cream scoop
and dredge with some flour. 

 Shake off the excess flour before cooking though.  Flatten slightly before putting them into the pan to cook.
Add to pan and cook on each side for about 3-4 minutes or until you get a nice brown crust.  You want the pan to be fairly hot, medium high heat.
  Serve with a dipping sauce if desired.

Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. Sambal Oelek
juice from one lime
zest from one lime (zest the lime before you try to squeeze the juice out, it's much easier to do that first. Please learn from my oop's) 

Stir together and serve with the crab cakes.  Garnish with some chopped chives if desired.

I'm also going to make some for our Tapas Night, cause it's always nice to share. 

Hey, crab cakes are good food.  
Carrabelle Crab Cakes
and here I am with the trophy.

2016 Carrabelle Crab Cake Cook Off winner

I was featured on Miz Helen's Country Cottage Full Plate Thursday, here it is, with pride.  Full Plate Thursday
Sidsel Munkholm - Author
Sidsel Munkholm - Author

Sid loves to cook, feed people and have fun in the kitchen. She shares her successes and the involuntary offerings she sometimes gives the kitchen goddess as well. And she's still looking for the mythical fairy to help her clean the kitchen after a marathon cooking session. Currently working on a cookbook showcasing the recipes from her Danish heritage.


  1. Congratulations to you Sid, that is awesome!! I can sure see why your cakes were a winner, they look fabulous and I can't wait to try this award winning recipe! Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great weekend!
    Miz Helen

    1. Thank you Miz Helen. I had fun, and did not expect to win, it was a total surprise. You have a great weekend as well.

  2. Congrats! These look delicious! We live near the Gulf Coast and everybody talks about who has the best crab cakes (in restaurants). We have a favorite, but I think your cakes would beat all of theirs - claws down! Kim @ CoziNest

    1. Thanks, they were good, I thought and others did as well. They did vote them the best. I know people down here talk about who makes the best crab cakes and it can get a little contentious, sometimes. One of the benefits of living on the Forgotten Coast is having fresh seafood available a lot of the time.

  3. Congratulations!
    Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Enjoy your new Red Plate and have a great weekend!
    Come Back Soon,
    Miz Helen


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