Like us, you’ve probably eaten a lot of crab cakes in your time. Sadly, this typically involves eating a lot of bad crab cakes: rubbery, filled with starchy fillers like breadcrumbs or mashed potato. It’s a sad truth that some cooks try to stretch a bit of expensive lump crabmeat by bulking out with extraneous stuff. These are different. They’re pretty much pure crab, bound with a little aioli, with a light coating of panko—Japanese-style breadcrumbs, now widely available—for a crispy coating. Make a batch of our Homemade Mayonnaise for the aioli before you begin, or pick up some high-quality store-bought mayo.
Make-ahead note: You can prepare these crab cakes ahead of time and reheat just before serving. To freeze, cook as instructed, cool completely, then freeze uncovered until firm. Wrap the frozen cakes well, seal in zipper-top freezer bags, and return them to the freezer. To reheat, set the frozen crab cakes on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven and cook until heated through.
For the crab cakes: