We became connoisseurs of crab cakes on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, where the art of crab picking is still practiced.
Of the many recipes we have tried, Ruth Reichl’s version from her second volume of autobiography, Comfort Me with Apples, is our favorite. I can tell you that just about any form of bread can be used for the “firm white sandwich bread” in the recipe. As Mariana remarked, “The recipe is fantastic and super easy. So glad to have crab cakes without peppers and other unnecessary stuff.”
Grayson and Davis were introduced to crab cakes while dining in our favorite room 312 at the Atlantis Lodge in Pine Knoll Shores during the summer of 2016. They loved these crab cakes. After her second crab cake and ear of corn, Grayson remarked, “Much better than I expected!”
1 pound lump crabmeat (pricey, but compare with a restaurant meal…)
½ stick (1/4 cup) butter
½ small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of tartar sauce or mayonnaise
2 slices firm white sandwich bread torn into small pieces
6 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs
Pick over the crabmeat to remove any bits of shell and cartilage, being careful not to break up the lumps of crab.
Cook the onion and ½ of the teaspoon of salt in 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet, over moderate heat, until the onion is softened. Let the mixture cool.
Whisk together the eggs, Worcestershire sauce, remaining salt, paprika, pepper, mayonnaise, and onion mixture. Gently fold in the the crabmeat and torn bread (the mixture will be very wet). Gently form the mixture into six cakes, each about 3 ½ inches across and ¾ inch thick. Line a tray with a piece of plastic wrap just large enough to hold the cakes and sprinkle it with half the bread crumbs. Set the crab cakes in one layer on top of the wrap and sprinkle the tops with the remaining bread crumbs, patting them gently to adhere. Cover the crab cakes loosely with another sheet of wrap and chill for 1 hour.
Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until the foam subsides. Cook the crab cakes until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side.
Makes 6 crab cakes.