Filson Food: Dungeness Crab Cakes

“If you have only ever eaten crab cakes at a restaurant, then you have not had amazing crab cakes. It’s a bold statement, so allow me to explain. Crabmeat is very expensive and making an order of crab cakes big enough to impress a customer makes for very expensive crab cakes that are a tough sell. To get around this, most restaurants will use less desirable crab meat or add filler. More often than not, restaurants will add breadcrumbs to the crab mix to make it easier to handle in service. No doubt some restaurants make great crab cakes … but if you want amazing crab cakes, filled with only the best crab and so juicy they almost fall apart when you cook them, you need to make your own. If you can find live crab and don’t mind the extra effort of picking all the meat, it is a great way to go. If you don’t have access to fresh crab, you can find frozen picked meat at a seafood store.”

– Connor Gabbott, Backcountry Chef

silver bowl full of crab meat, next to root vegetables and milled mustard

Crab cakes will pair well with a variety of things. For this recipe, we made a celeriac remoulade with wild sea asparagus and served it with pickled red onions and lemon.

Makes 2 servings.

ingredients black background yellow text

Crab Cakes

1 ½ lbs Dungeness crab meat
½ cup Mayonnaise
¼ cup Grainy mustard
2 Tbsp Sambal oelek chili paste
1 ½ Lemons, zested
1 Tsp Black pepper
1 Whole egg
¾ Tsp Old Bay seasoning
¼ Cup Chopped parsley
3 Cups Breadcrumbs
⅓ Cup Butter

Celeriac Remoulade

1 Celeriac, peeled and sliced to the size of matchsticks
1 Cup Sea asparagus. If you live on the coast, you might find this at a farmers’ market.
Pinch Kosher salt
2 Tsp Apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Grainy mustard
1 Tbsp Chopped tarragon
¼ Tsp Fresh cracked black pepper

Pickled Red Onions

2 Cups Red wine vinegar
1 Cup Sugar
1 Red onion, ¼” sliced

crab meat, egg, mayonnaise and herbs in a red bowl sitting on top of a wooden board next to a knife
Preparation black background yellow text

Crab Cakes

1. Squeeze the crab meat in your hands until no more liquid comes out.
2. Mix the crab with the mayonnaise, mustard, sambal oelek, lemon zest, parsley, egg, and Old Bay seasoning.
3. Taste the crab mix and adjust the seasoning and spice if needed. The mixture should barely hold together when balled.
4. Lay the breadcrumbs out on a flat surface.
5. Using a spoon, roughly ball the crab mixture in the bowl before transferring the cake to the breadcrumbs.
6. Press the crab cake gently down into the breadcrumbs. Final crab cakes should be approximately 1 ½” thick.
7. Repeat with the remainder of the crab mix.
8. Place a pan over medium heat and add the butter.
9. When the butter is bubbly, gently place the crab cakes into the butter and pan-fry until golden brown.
10. Cover the top of each crab cake with breadcrumbs and very gently flip the crab cakes over.
11. Repeat on the second side until golden brown and the middle of the crab cake is hot.
12. Serve with the remoulade and pickled red onions.

Pickled Red Onion

1. Bring the red wine vinegar and sugar to a boil and add the sliced red onion.
2. Cool the mixture for an hour and strain before using.

Celeriac Remoulade

1. Combine the celeriac, apple cider vinegar and salt in a bowl, toss and allow to marinate for 10 minutes.
2. Squeeze the excess liquid out of the celeriac.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss to coat. Set aside.