Depending on the region you live in, seafood can be plentiful and familiar, or uncommon and exorbitantly priced (with crab and lobster meat being some of the most overpriced items at your grocery store).
The Get Cheffy kitchen is currently based in St. Louis, Missouri. The Midwest has a surprising range of freshwater fish options like Trout, Catfish, and Crawdads (a freshwater cousin to lobster); crab, however, is not a local animal in the Midwest, so our Get Cheffy Crab Cakes use humble, always available, canned crab.
Bon Appetit, and Get Cheffy!
FOR THE CRAB CAKES:
- 5- 6oz cans of crab meat
- Our favorite brand is “Geisha” which has clear pieces of crab meat, but any brand will work.
- 1-2 Cups Milk
- See *note below
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 1 Bunch (7-10) Scallions (minced and divided into the white/light-green and darker green parts)
- 1 Teaspoon minced garlic
- 3 Red or Yellow Bell Peppers, minced
- 2 Teaspoons minced garlic
- 3 Teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
- You’ll notice there’s only a little “salt” in this recipe. Learn form our mistakes, and understand that salt/sodium comes from different places other than the salt you pour from the Morton’s salt box. Soy sauce, cheeses, and pre-made seasonings (like Old Bay), are loaded with salt/sodium and can catch you off guard with overly salty end results if you don’t balance things in the beginning, and consider all of the sources of sodium you’re bringing to the table.
- 1 Teaspoon freshly ground black
- 1 Teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
- 1 Teaspoon honey
- 1/2 Cup dry (non-sweet) white wine
- 3 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
- ~1 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs
- 2 Tablespoons Mayonaisse
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
*Why does canned crab smell fishy?
Nearly all seafood (crabs included) contain a compound called “trimethylamine oxide” or TMAO.
When a fish/crab is alive, this TMAO compound is odorless but once seafood is killed and canned, this TMAO slowly transforms into TMA (trimethylamine), which has a “fishy” smell…………tuna in a can has a “fishy” smell due to TMA as well.
Luckily, there’s an easy way to restore a fresh smell; give your seafood a 30 minute soak in milk.
Open your cans of crab and, after draining the canning liquid, put the crab meat into a large bowl and cover it with milk; cover the bowl and put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. The casein proteins in milk will bind to the smelly TMA molecules in that time. After at least 30 minutes, strain the crab meat in a fine mesh strainer. The milk will have absorbed the TMA molecules and will take that undesirable odor with it down the drain. Voila…..you now have fresh/clean-tasting canned seafood (you Cheffy little thing).
- While your canned crab meat soaks in milk, begin by heating your butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. One your butter is melted add only the white and pale green portions of your minced scallions (reserving the dark green minced portion for later). Allow your minced scallion to sauté for 2-3 minutes over medium heat before adding your minced bell peppers. Keeping your heat at medium, sauté your peppers and scallion whites for 7-9 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 7-9 minutes, add your Old Bay seasoning, black pepper, honey, and hot sauce (if using) and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes to bloom your spices and caramelize your vegetable. After 1-2 minutes, taste a bit of your mixture…..it may need a bit of salt (add some if you think it needs it, but Old Bay has salt in it already so always be aware by tasting as you go). Once you’re pleased with your seasoning, add your white wine to de glaze your pan. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until your wine has evaporated. Once your wine has evaporated, and your mixture has softened, add your Worcestershire sauce, stir to combine, and turn your heat off. Set aside.
- After your crab meat has soaked for at least 30 minutes, strain the milk from the crab meat through a fine mesh strainer. Rinse out the bowl removing any trace of milk, and add your now drained crab meat back to the bowl. Add your cooled scallion/bell pepper mixture to the bowl and stir to combine. Add your mayonnaise and Dijon and continue to combine. At this stage, add your breadcrumbs and the dark green minced scallions you’d set aside, and continue to gently combine with a spatula. To test for the correct consistency, take a bit of mixture in your hand, and gently squeeze it in your hand; when you open your hand, the mixture should take, and hold, the shape/impression of your closed hand. If your mixture can’t hold a shape, add more breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it can hold a shape when gently squeezed.
- Once you’ve combined your crab mixture, it’s best to let the mixture refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or overnight). When ready to serve your crab cakes, heat your vegetable oil over medium heat. While your oil heats, scoop out your desired amount of crab cake mixture and gently shape into individual patties. Fry your patties for 6-8 minutes a side. Serve immediately with any sauce you like (horseradish, roulades, etc. all like to be paired with crab cakes).
GET CHEFFY TIP!– We served our crab cakes with a “Chipotle Aioli”. Aioli is a fancy type of mayonnaise that you can easily recreate by combining store bought mayo with minced chipotles, lemon juice, and maple syrup.