I’ve made different crab cake recipes in the past, but this is the one I always go back to. It’s a simple combination that beautifully highlights the delicate flavor of fresh crabmeat, and I love serving it on lettuce leaves for the fresh crunch. You can make them in different sizes: larger cakes are great to plate individually as an appetizer; small cakes are great as a party bite, or served in mini-buns as sliders. You could even roll them into mini balls and serve them skewered on bamboo toothpicks as finger food. The spicy lime mayo couldn’t possibly be easier to make, and it’s the perfect sidekick to this classic dish.
Classic Crab Cakes with Spicy Lime Mayo
¼ cup [60 ml] mayonnaise
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp [15 ml] Dijon mustard
2 tsp [10 ml] fresh lime juice
½ tsp [2.5 ml] smoked paprika
½ tsp [2.5 ml] ground ginger
¼ tsp [1.25 ml] cayenne pepper
Pinch freshly ground nutmeg
1 lb [454 g] fresh lump crabmeat, picked over (or good-quality frozen crabmeat, thawed and squeezed of excess water)
1 ¼ cup [310 ml] panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), divided
1 tbsp [15 ml] thinly sliced chives
¼ tsp [1.25 ml] kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 head Boston or Bibb lettuce
2 tbsp [30 ml] vegetable oil
½ cup [125 ml] store-bought mayo (I use low-fat Hellmann’s)
½ tsp [2.5 ml] finely grated lime zest (from about ½ lime)
2 tsp [10 ml] freshly squeezed lime juice (from about ½ lime)
½ tsp [2.5 ml] Sriracha sauce (or your favorite spicy sauce)
Whisk first 9 ingredients (mayo to nutmeg) in a medium bowl. Add crab; fold to blend. Stir in ¾ cup [180 ml] panko, chives, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Divide into 6 or 12 equal portions, depending on how big you like to enjoy your crabcakes. A larger size is great to serve on a plate as an appetizer, whereas smaller cakes are great as a party bite, or served in mini-buns as sliders.
Roll each crabcake mixture portion into a ball, then flatten into 1-inch-thick patties for larger cakes, and about ¾-inch-thick for smaller cakes. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.
Mix together the lime mayo ingredients, pour in a small dipping bowl and store in the fridge until ready to use.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place remaining ½ cup [125 ml] panko on a plate. Coat the crab cakes with panko. Fry until golden brown and crisp, 3-4 minutes per side for the larger size, about 2 minutes per side for the smaller size, in batches if necessary, adding more oil between batches if needed.
Serve on lettuce leaves, with lime wedges and lime mayo.