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Crab cakes seem less a meal for crunchtime and more the meal one gets served at a fine luncheon perhaps where polo matches or yachting are involved, but after an kickback weekend in the San Juan Islands with Dr. April and family, I assure you meals with crab meat are not only approachable, they are downright easy, even if you do the crabbing. We have a video with the boys that shows us a thing or two about crabs that’s not from science class.

Should you be lucky enough to crab for your own Dungeness or pick them up whole at the market, the husbands demonstrate how shell them or if you’re cracking open a can instead of a shell to get your crabmeat, we’ll give you the simplest recipe we found for crab cakes.

Fresh from shells, Dr. April marveled us all weekend by whipping up crab meat laced omelettes and equally impressive, she made a ceviche for Henry’s mind-blowing plantain cups (I can make the PBJ sandwiches). Because fresh deserves freshly prepared, we couldn’t bring any home, but we went a close next step.

I relied on Papa George’s canned crabmeat purchased at the gloriously humble Lopez Island farmer’s market and added in a carton from the supermarket to make enough for two meals. My son noted that like fudge, crabmeat tastes better than it looks.

Now to the crab cakes. I scoured the webberworld for crab cake recipes and maybe you the supercook already know this, but many crab cake recipes led me right to that buttery cracker from yesteryear cocktail parties.

Crab cake recipes from the Queen of Butter to allrecipes to an academy award winner’s motherseemed to share one ingredient – the Ritz cracker.There are foods worse than Ritz crackers, but I still had some issue with the ingredients (I know give my kids something tasty for God’s sake), so I made two batches one with Ritz crackers and one with the simpler, cleaner panko crumbs. Go no futher, I swear the Ritz is not needed for savory crab cakes.

In addition to the crumbs, cracker or panko or otherwise, this recipe splendidly pulls together with a few ingredients thanks to inspiration fromthe crab cake guyand the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market cookbook.

We prepped these ahead of time and fried them up at crunchtime for an out of the sea, out of the can fresh tasting light summer dinner. Served with a lemony aioli and Thai mango slaw this meal made us all a little less crabby.


crabbing for dinner – easiest way to cake it up

2/3 c panko crumbs

1/2 lb lump crabmeat

1/4 c egg white or one egg

2 T mayo

1 t lemon juice

few drops hot pepper sauce

sea salt

1 T unsalted butter

1 T cooking oil (canola or vegetable)

  1. In a bowl, break apart lumps of crabmeat with a few small chunks remaining.
  2. Measure out 1/3 of a cup of the panko crumbs and place the remaining on a small plate.
  3. Using a fork, gently blend egg white may, lemon juice, hot-pepper sauce, 1/2 t. salt and 1/3 c. panko crumbs.
  4. Add in crabmeat and combine.
  5. With your hands, grab about 1/4 c of crabmeat mixture and form a 2″ cake.
  6. Coat the patty with panko crumbs on the plate.
  7. Set aside until all cakes are formed and then refrigerate them for thirty minutes or up to four hours (so the recipe says, but I fried a second batch two days later and they were just as delicious).
  8. Heat oil and butter over medium heat. When hot but not allowing the butter to brown, place the crab cakes into the hot pan, without overcrowding.
  9. Brown for about 3-5 minutes on both sides. They may need more or less time depending on the size of the cake.
  10. For the lemony aioli, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, and hot sauce to taste. Add salt according to your taste preferences.
recipe inspired by The Santa Monica Farmer’s Market cookbook and provided by your friends at crunchtime.


  1. Dr. April says Aug 11th 2011 5:46 pm

    Excellent video!!! I swear that Panko is the key. Leave it to the Japanese to develop outstanding white bread crumbs. We add few tbs of chopped shallots, parsley and red bell pepper for color too.

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