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Cooking Tips To Cook Crab Cakes

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  • Cooking Tips To Cook Crab Cakes

    CRAB CAKES 101:


    Crabmeat, seasonings, and cooking methods may vary slightly from chef to chef. Collectively they offer the following tips for successful crab cakes:

    What to buy: Crabmeat usually is available as cooked lump (large pieces of white body meat) or flaked (small pieces of both light and dark meat from both the body and claws). Chef Seth Simmerman advises, “Crabmeat is not cheap. Buy the very best quality you can afford.” Expect to pay about $25 a pound for lump blue crabmeat. Jumbo lump crabmeat can be as much as $35 a pound. Keep the crabmeat on ice until ready to use.

    HOW TO CLEAN: Treat the crabmeat gently. Pick over the lumps very carefully to remove any bits of shell and cartilage. (Yes, even at $35 a pound, it must be picked over. Chef Neil Cohen’s advice: pick and re-pick.) Chef Peter Gems recommends rinsing pasteurized crabmeat carefully and pouring it out on a towel. Pat the meat dry and pick it over for shells.

    HOW TO MIX: Gently. Try to leave the lumps intact. Easiest method: Place the cleaned crabmeat in a bowl. Set the breading (crumbs, crushed crackers, etc.) aside. Combine the rest of the ingredients in another bowl, mixing well. Sprinkle the breading over the crabmeat. Pour the other ingredients on top. Stir gently to combine.

    HOW TO SHAPE: Crab cakes may be formed into round, flat patties or into a cylinder shape. Divide into portions with a spoon or ice cream scoop and pat into the size wanted. Small or medium-size cakes may be easier to work with. Refrigerate or not; some chefs do, some don’t. Most believe refrigerated crab cakes hold together better when cooked. Shape the cakes, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for up to two hours. (Helpful if one is having guests.)

    HOW TO COOK: Deep fry, pan fry, sauté, broil, or cook on a griddle brushed with butter, oil, or non-stick spray. A combination of 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil will be enough to cook one pound of crab cakes. Be aware that cakes prepared with jumbo lump crabmeat may fall apart if deep-fried.

    THINK ABOUT IT: The ultimate crab cake is light, golden brown, and holds together. Jumbo lump crab cakes are harder to shape since the pieces of meat are larger. The object is to stick the cake together so it holds its shape without mashing the cake flat. If the mixture is too loose or too dry to shape, add a tiny sprinkling of bread crumbs or a touch more mayonnaise to compensate.
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