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crab cake nightmate - more like crab dust!

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Tonight I attempted to make my own crab cakes. Followed a recipe from "Gourmet Cooking for dummies" by Charlie Trotter. The "stuffing" tasted great!! I was happy about it, but before I started making the cakes, I knew they just wouldn't hold together, so I added an extra yolk. Formed the cakes (about 1 inch diameter, 3/4 inch high), breaded, and pan fried.

Then they all fell apart. Some before I even attempted to flip: they just... disintegrated into the oil. :confused:

The recipe is pretty much crab meat, just a little red bell pepper and jalapeno, about 2 tablespoon of mayo for 1/2 lbs crab meat, some lime juice, salt, pepper, and then I added an extra yolk.

I used snow crab legs, just took them apart and pulled the meat off them.

Any idea?
post #2 of 12
Try using lump crab next time. The meat itself has to have some body or nothing will hold it together. You could also try a recipe that uses mayo as the binder like the one below from Paula Deen. I've done this one and they're great!

Ingredients
1 pound crabmeat, picked free of shells
1/3 cup crushed crackers (recommended: Ritz)
3 green onions (green and white parts), finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 egg
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
Dash cayenne pepper
Flour, for dusting
1/2 cup peanut oil
Favorite dipping sauce, for serving

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients, except for the flour and peanut oil. Shape into patties and dust with flour.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, carefully place crab cakes, in batches, in pan and fry until browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip crab cakes and fry on other side until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Serve warm with preferred sauce.
post #3 of 12
There are a couple of things I can see.

First off, Singer is correct. You should be using lump crabmeat. And, personally, I don't like the proportions of those cakes.

But I think there's a bigger problem. There is a growing trend, among chefs, to produce crabcakes with no filler and little of any binder. From a dining standpoint that's great: all you see is lightly browned cakes, with the lump crab visually starring.

However, it's difficult to form and cook such cakes, as they easily fall apart if you don't have the knack for it. A newbie at this really should use a recipe that contains some binder and filler.

Here, from the Maryland Office of Seafood Marketing, is the traditional recipe that almost all others are based on:

Maryland Lady Crabcakes

1 lb Maryland crabmeat
1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1 large egg (or 2 small)
About 1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
Margarine, butter or oil for frying

Remove all cartilage from crabmeat. In a bowl mix breadcurbs, eggs, mayonnaise and seasonings. Add crabmeat and mix gently but thoroughly. If mixture is too dry, add a little more mayonnaise. Shape into 6 cakes.

Cook cakes in fry pan, injust enough fat to prevent sticking until browned; about 5 minutes on each side.

Note: If desired, crab cakes may be deep fried at 350F 2 to 3 minutes or until browned.

Some comments on this recipe. First off, most experienced East Coast cooks would question a crabcake recipe that lacked Old Bay seasoning. So you might add some to taste. Second, most serious crabcake cooks would sneer at the amount of filler. You can cut the breadcrumbs in half if you want, and the cakes will still hold together while letting the crab shine through.

However, the first time or two I'd follow the recipe as printed. Then, as you gain experience, you can start experimenting.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #4 of 12
Did you chill them down in the fridge first?

Was the oil hot enough before you put them in?

White sauce, nice n thick, makes a good base for crab cakes. (Mayo is too rich for my taste - you can lose the delicate crab flavour). Gotta chill the mix down, then bread, then chill again. The size seems a bit small - you might have better luck with something a bit bigger, if its all cooked already, it just needs to brown and heat through.

But don't mess with it once its in the hot (not smoking hot, but hot) oil, couple of minutes till its getting golden and crispy on bottom. Then CAREfully turn then, egg flipper is best with bread knife on top - be gentle. Let sizzle for another couple of minutes till golden. Drain on kitchen towel.

Hope this helps :)
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #5 of 12
I agree with some of the above posts. When I first read the recipe I was asking myself where the filler was. Crabcakes can be made without any filler but as KYHeirloomer stated they are very difficult to handle and get right. Adding just a hint of filler will help tremendously. It can be in the form of breadcrumbs (either fresh or dried) panko, cracker crumbs (try saltines or Ritz), or even ground tortilla chips, just to name a few. Of course lump crab would be the best to use, but it may be cost prohibitive if you don't live in the right area. While lump makes the best crabcakes, you can make good ones with backfin also, just stay away from the fake stuff.
post #6 of 12
KY has about the same recipe I use....I use panko and flavor with Green onion, dijon, and tabasco....mayo and egg are about right, for the mayo, remember to "bring out the best".....if you do make a crab cake with no fillers then you'll want to make a mousseline, bad spelling, out of mild raw white fish, a little raw scallop, and heavy cream....these you will have to chill thoroughly and probably use a ring mold or PVC......just enough mousse to bind the crab....good luck...
post #7 of 12
Having grown up in Maryland and living on the Chesapeake Bay back when a Jumbo Crab was at least 8" point to point, I am old school and would go with KYHeirloomer with these changes, but again this is my personal taste!
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My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Great, thanks so much all of you for the tips. Well the recipe I used isn't too different from what I see here. It did have some breadcrumbs and mayo, and I did add a little extra mayo too... but my guess is I didn't use the proper crab meat. Next time I'll try to use the lump meat...

Now here in L.A. that may mean those little jars where the lump meat swims in water... for $18 the 8oz. :eek:
post #9 of 12
Given the high prices for everything in LA French Fries, that's not really out of line.

Round heah it's 30 bucks a pound. Which is why I mostly wait until I visit the coast, and catch my own crabs.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
No...so you form them, bread them and chill them before you fry them?

Yes, that I got right.


It helps a lot! Thanks!
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
That sounds amazing...catching your own crabs, then cooking them.... that's gotta be the ultimate experience. I'm jealous!:)
post #12 of 12
Nothing to be envious about, French Fries. Crabbing is done wherever there is salt water. And it's one of the least expensive outdoor sports---you can, literally, get started with a piece of string and a wire loop.

I don't know how far south they go, for instance. But people catch their own Dungenese crabs from northern California to the Canadian border. I bet if you took a drive a couple of hours north you find folks doing it.

Meanwhile, you might want to check out Crabbing. Catching the Crab. for the basics.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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