Cooking Crustaceans, Plus the Condiments That Go With Them


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From weekends at the shore to mega-blockbuster movies in an overly air conditioned theater, some things are best enjoyed during the warmer months. Food-wise, that couldn’t be more true of all of our favorite crustaceans. From crab cakes to lobster rolls to crawfish boils, something about them just screams “summertime, and the livin’ is easy.”

We’ll be looking to make and enjoy these crustacean recipes in the coming months—ideally, with a frosty beer or glass of ice tea close by. If you’ll be doing the same, don’t forget the sauce! Here’s your guide to cooking those shelled creatures of the sea, plus the condiments to serve with them.

1. Easy Crab Cakes

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The Chesapeake may lay claim to the original crab cake, but we like to think that ours ain’t too shabby, either. Completely free of filler, they’re held together simply with a light aioli and encrusted by a layer of crisp-fried panko. Get our Easy Crab Cakes recipe

2. Mini Cornbread Crab Cakes

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If you like a little extra chunky texture in your crab cakes, however, go for these patties stuffed with cornbread crumbles, herbs, and bell pepper. Their miniature size makes them excellent for entertaining. Get our Mini Cornbread Crab Cakes recipe.

3. Crawfish Boil

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Got friends coming over? Show them a good ol’ time in a less-than-obvious way with a crawfish boil. Even better, once you’ve got your little crustaceans, all you need are a few basic ingredients to add to the boiling pot. Get our Crawfish Boil recipe.

4. Basic Steamed Lobster

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Brought home a big-clawed friend or two from the seafood market? Send ‘em off to their ultimate demise the right way by following our guide to steaming and breaking down live lobster. Get our Basic Steamed Lobster recipe.

5. New England Lobster Rolls

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Summer is a special time in New England in that it offers a break from the unpredictable weather the region gets during the rest of the year. Lobster rolls are the perfect way to celebrate and revel in that sunshine-y bliss—we like to do it with just a dash of mayo and some crisp, finely chopped celery. Get our New England Lobster Rolls recipe.

6. Lobster Salad

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Lobster is also one of those foods that is so delectable, sometimes all you want is to enjoy it in its full glory. This light salad puts those chunks of tender flesh front and center. Get our Lobster Salad recipe.

7. Homemade Mayonnaise

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Whether you use it as the base for one of the above recipes (like the lobster rolls) or just plan on schmearing it over your shellfish, a good homemade mayo bursts with yolky flavor that you won’t get with the jarred stuff from the store. Get our Homemade Mayonnaise recipe.

8. Quick Aioli

Aioli takes mayo one step further by adding in seasonings such as garlic. Although it has its place all over the food map, popping up in sandwiches and more, we’re especially fond of it in and on our crab cakes. Get our Quick Aioli recipe.

9. Marie Rose Sauce

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If you want a little more sweetness and tang from your seafood dip, try Marie Rose sauce, which incorporates brandy, ketchup, and Worcestershire into the mix. Get our Marie Rose Sauce recipe.

10. Jalapeño Tartar Sauce

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Traditionalists will want to opt for tartar sauce, although not without a twist. Ours introduces spicy jalapeño, which turns up the heat just a notch. Get our Jalapeño Tartar Sauce recipe.

11. Cocktail Sauce

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Cocktail sauce loves shrimp and oysters, for sure, but it’s shellfish-friendly tendencies don’t end there. Serve it with your crawfish for a heat-packing dipping option. Get our Cocktail Sauce recipe.

Miki Kawasaki is a New York City–based food writer and graduate of Boston University's program in Gastronomy. Few things excite her more than a well-crafted sandwich or expertly spiced curry. If you ever run into her at a dinner party, make sure to hit her up for a few pieces of oddball culinary trivia.

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