Would you believe I had never tasted a crab cake until earlier this year? Crazy, right? Oddly enough, it happened in Las Vegas. Dustin and I went out to a nice seafood restaurant called Chart House while our friends watched Jordan at the hotel.
Mind you, this was our first night out without Jordan. Ever. Needless to say, I was watching my phone like a hawk. Like. A. Hawk.
Anyways, just because we were out on the town and on our own and totally not obsessing over all the different ways my baby could get lost or hurt without my constant presence, we ordered all sorts of beautiful dishes at the restaurant. We tried the Lobster Bisque (yum), the Bruschetta Sliders (quite tasty), the Crab Cakes — all in addition to our actual entrees. Oh, I may have had a few glasses of wine, too. Hey, it was Vegas, after all.
Until then, the opportunity had never really presented itself to try crab cakes. Not sure how that happened.
Long story short, the meal was fabulous. By the way, Jordan was sound asleep after frantically rushing home when we got back to the hotel, in case you were worried.
Since our trip, the memory of the crab cakes has stuck with me. So, like any reasonable person would do (heehee), I added them to My Summer List to try out on my own.
I hadn’t ever really considered buying live crabs and then picking the meat from the shells. Ugh. That sounded like a lot of work. So, instead, I bought a pound of “fresh” crab meat at the store. Important note: If you ever use this type of crab meat, make sure to thoroughly check it for shells prior to cooking it. I thought the hefty price tag would insure the shells were completely removed. Silly me.
The crab cakes turned out to be quite tasty — hence the name “Best Crab Cakes.” Granted, I don’t have much to compare them to, but I really think they were good. Just the right amount of heat while letting the crab be the star. I think they were complimented very well by the Lemon-Dill Aioli, too, which is tart and creamy.
Best Crab Cakes with Lemon-Dill Aioli
For the Lemon-Dill Aioli:
2 large egg yolks (pasteurized, to be safe)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp. fresh parsley, minced
1 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. dried dill
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
Place all ingredients, except for olive oil, in a blender. Pulse to combine. With the blender running, very slowly drizzle in olive oil, little by little, until an emulsion forms (the mixture will thicken and become a creamy, white-ish color).
Refrigerate for 1 hour prior to serving to allow flavors to meld.
For the Crab Cakes:
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tbsp. parsley, minced
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 lb. crab meat, de-shelled
3/4 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs, divided
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup parmesan, grated
Heat 1 tbsp. butter in large skillet on medium-high heat. Cook green onion and garlic until tender, approximately 2 minutes. Add parsley, lemon juice, 1/2 cup of the unseasoned breadcrumbs and spices to the mixture and stir together. Remove from heat. Fold in crab meat until evenly distributed.
Combine parmesan, 1/4 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs and panko in a shallow dish.
Form the crab cake patties to about 1/2-inch thickness. Wet your hands with water if the mixture starts to stick. You should make about 8 medium-sized patties.
Cover the patties with parchment paper or saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. This will make it so the cakes don’t fall apart and crumble while cooking.
Heat 1 tbsp. butter in a large skillet on medium-high heat until butter is almost burning. Cook patties, 4 at a time, until golden on each side, approximately 3 minutes per side. Use the remaining 1 tbsp. butter for the final 4 patties.
Serve with a lemon wedge and Lemon-Dill Aioli for dipping.