Italian Style Crab Cakes
I use Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset Blend which is a combination of basil, oregano, red bell pepper, garlic, thyme, fennel, black pepper, and anise. You can also use dried Italian seasoning.
1 lb fresh lump crabmeat, cleaned and shells removed
2 tablespoons chopped red bell pepper
1 shallot, minced
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon Tuscan blend seasoning or salt-free dried Italian seasoning
⅓ cup olive oil mayonnaise
2 tablespoons homemade or store-bought basil pesto
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
8 thin tomato slices
Lemon Butter Aioli
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup olive oil mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove small garlic minced or grated
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of salt and pepper
Make the aioli
Whisk the melted butter with the ½ cup mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, pinch of cayenne, salt, and pepper in a medium-sized bowl until smooth and combined, cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Make the crab cakes
In a large bowl, mix together all crab the cake ingredients except the oil and the tomatoes. Using 1/3 cup mixture for each, shape into eight 3-inch patties.
In 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil and butter over medium heat until hot. Add patties; cook 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and thoroughly cooked. Drain on paper towels.
To serve place each crab cake on a tomato slice and top each cake with a tablespoon of Lemon Butter Aioli.
Some of the US’s best blue crab is hand-picked here along the Gulf Coast, mostly gathered from the Bayou La Batre vicinity. With the volume of crab needed to supply our local seafood markets, multiple small crab pickers along the coast are used when gathering the freshest crab meat. Crabs are readily available along the Gulf coast as soon as the water is warm, so the season usually runs from March to November.
Over fishing has made blue crab difficult to come by in many areas of the US.
According to the Marine Resources Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation, some rivers, estuaries and parts of upper Mobile Bay near the delta are closed to the use of crab traps. These spots serve as a nursery, giving small crabs a chance to grow before they move out into Mobile Bay and the Mississippi Sound, where they can be harvested. Other areas are closed to crabbing to protect the diamondback terrapin–turtles with concentric, diamond-shaped markings–which can get caught in the crab traps and drown.
Established in 2012, G.U.L.F. is the sustainable seafood program under the Audubon Nature Institute. G.U.L.F. works with the seafood supply chain, from harvesters to retailers, fishery management agencies, and consumers to ensure that fisheries in our region thrive for the benefit of future generations. Through education and outreach, restaurant engagement, fishery improvement projects, and third-party assessment and certification, G.U.L.F. pledges to promote sustainable practices, foster a community invested in Gulf fisheries, and create a more stable and confident fishing industry. The G.U.L.F. Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) certification is a regionalized model measuring the responsible practices for the sustainable harvest of our vibrant Gulf of Mexico seafood. The Louisiana blue crab fishery was the first to go through the process and receive the G.U.L.F. RFM certification. Global Trust, an independent assessment body specializing in the certification of fisheries, carried out the evaluation and awarded the certification.
Fisheries certified under the umbrella of G.U.L.F. will gain credibility in a marketplace with ever-increasing demands for sustainability verification. In recent years, large retailers, such as Walmart, Whole Foods, Kroger, Winn-Dixie and Publix have developed strict sourcing policies that require sustainability assurances before purchasing seafood. This certification demonstrates that Louisiana blue crab is responsibly harvested for sustainable use, thereby safeguarding both the seafood itself and the industry that relies on it.
I think crab cakes should taste like crab and not bread. So, I only use breadcrumbs on the outside of the cakes to give them a coating and not in the filling. Of course, this makes them more fragile, so I bake them instead of frying them – which is so much more healthy for us.
1 pound fresh lump crab
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon Old Bay (seafood) seasoning
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon chopped shallots
1 1/2 tablespoons capers, drained and chopped
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Remove any cartilage from the crabmeat. Do not break up the lumps.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the Old Bay seasoning, hot sauce, dry mustard and salt.
Add the diced bell pepper, celery and onion. Mix gently. Fold in the crab meat.
Chill the mixture, covered, for several hours in the refrigerator.
To make the remoulade sauce:
Stir together all the ingredients, cover and store the sauce in the refrigerator until serving time.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
To make the crab cakes:
Spread about 1 cup of panko breadcrumbs on a large sheet of waxed paper.
Divide the crab mixture into 8 portions. Roll each portion into a ball with your hands and place on the breadcrumbs.
Press down gently on each ball to form a cake and cover the entire surface with breadcrumbs. Add more breadcrumbs as needed.
Lightly oil the bottom of a rimmed cookie sheet. Place the breaded crab cakes on the baking sheet.
Put the cookie sheet into the oven and bake until the crab cakes are golden brown on each side, about 20 minutes.
Turn the crab cakes over half way through. Use a wide spatula and turn the cakes gently since they are fragile/
Serve with the Remoulade Sauce.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, then turn the crab cakes over, and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until nicely browned.
The following salads go well with crab cakes.
Tomato Cucumber Feta Salad
2 large plum (Roma) tomatoes, sliced into thin rounds
1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon fresh, chopped oregano
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Alternate the tomato and cucumber slices on a serving, Sprinkle the feta, shallots and oregano together.
Dress with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
Southwestern Corn Salad
Make this salad a day ahead so the ingredients can marinate.
6 ears fresh corn on the cob
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup finely chopped green onions
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 poblano peppers, chopped
Remove the corn from the cobs and place into a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and toss well.
Cover and chill overnight. Stir well before serving.