Crab cakes that are all about the crab are a very fine thing indeed. Instead of a mountain of breadcrumbs, all a pound of crabmeat needs is a few tablespoons of crushed crackers or panko, plus a bit of binder (usually in the form of mayonnaise), and gentle handling to keep the pieces of crab intact and the cake one piece. Mustard (dry or prepared) and Old Bay Seasoning are traditional, but best kept light, so the flavor of the crab shines through. Chowhounds have strong preferences when it comes to using lump, back fin, or claw meat—go with whatever part of the crab is tastiest to you. Chilling the formed cakes for an hour before cooking helps them hold together better. Pan-frying works best, as crab cakes without a lot of binder often fall apart under the broiler.
QueenB loves this recipe, passed down from a “true Maryland lady”:
6 saltine crackers, crushed
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon mustard
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg, beaten
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 pound crabmeat, picked over and shells removed
Mix all ingredients together, shape into cakes, and sauté in a combination of olive oil and butter.
Board Link: Filler-minimal crabcake recipe?