The Dish | Norm’s Crab Cakes

Crab season is here after a late start in the Bay Area. Commercial crab season was delayed to help protect humpback whales and leatherback sea turtles from entanglements with fishing equipment, but crab is now available at local stores and on the docks of Fisherman’s Wharf, Half Moon Bay’s Pillar Point, and Bodega Bay.

This recipe comes from a good friend of mine who crabs every day from his home on Camano Island in the San Juans. It is the best I have ever had – thank you, Norm!

  • 1 lb crab, picked over for stray shells
  • ¾ cup bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 Tbs mayo
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup red pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp Dijon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Splash Tabasco
  • Butter, olive oil
  • Sauté onion and bell pepper in 2 Tbs butter, until softened, about 6-7 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 2-3 minutes. Cool.
  • Mix bread crumbs, eggs, mayo, and sautéed vegetables. 
  • Add crab and mix. Add parsley, mustard, salt, Tabasco, and mix. 
  • Cover and chill mixture 2 hours or overnight.
  • Form mixture into cakes of desired size. If mixture seems dry, add mayo before forming cakes. If it seems loose, add small amount of bread crumbs. After cakes are formed, coat each cake with bread crumbs on each side. 
  • Melt equal parts butter and olive oil in a large sauté pan. Cook cakes several minutes until browned, turn cakes to cook other side. Cakes will probably need to be cooked in a couple of batches.  Drain on paper towels.
  • Serve with aioli or cocktail sauce (can use chipotle sauce, lime and mayo). 
  • Add a snap pea salad for a full meal.

Snap Pea Salad (courtesy of Epicurious)

  • Whisk 1/2 tsp mustard, 2 Tbs lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and 3 Tbs oil in a large bowl.
  • Thinly slice remaining 2 scallions on an angle; transfer to bowl with dressing.
  • Add sugar snap peas, radishes, and reserved mint leaves; toss to combine.

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