Monday, August 15, 2011


Of all places to find a crab cake recipe, AARP Magazine was not on my list.  The brief story in the April 2009 issue written by author Pat Conroy's wife, Cassandra King, drew me in.  They met over food, they romanced with food, and, in her words, "Pat said his crab cakes were so good I would want to marry him after tasting them.  They were, and I did."  With that kind of endorsement I just had to try the recipe, even though I was a skeptic.  How could these be good with so few ingredients?  Where would the flavor come from?  As my hubby, The Crab Guy, and I took our first bites, we understood completely that old adage, "less is more."  The flavor?  It comes from the crab meat, enhanced by a minimum of additives.  This is the best crab cake recipe ever.

The Conroys serve their crab cakes over arugula, tossed with extra-virgin olive oil and champagne vinegar.  Sounded lovely, maybe next time.  This time, we had fresh spinach sauteed lightly in olive oil and corn on the cob.  It was a meal to die for.

The Conroys use an entire pound of crab meat, yielding 4 generous crab cakes, for the two of them.  I halved the recipe to make one crab cake apiece for Guy and me.  It was plenty.

Crab Cakes at the Conroys'
Adapted from AARP Magazine, April 2009
Rating:  10 out of 10

Crab Cakes:
8 oz. fresh lump crab meat
1-1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt, preferably grey salt
about 1/16 tsp. black pepper
1 small egg white
1-1/2 - 3 tsp. white whole wheat flour
2-4 tsp. unsalted butter
small cast-iron skillet or small flat, heavy skillet

Put crab meat in a bowl; pick over for shells.  Squeeze lemon juice over crab; salt and pepper lightly.  Gently toss together without breaking up crab meat pieces.  In a small dish, whisk egg white till foamy.  Pour over crab and gently mix in.  Using as little flour as possible, form mixture into two crab cakes.  Melt butter in cast-iron skillet (or in a flat, heavy skillet) until sizzling and just beginning to brown.  Carefully add crab cakes.  Brown on 1 side until crispy, about 2 minutes; turn carefully and brown the other side, about 2 minutes.  Remove to plates.  Serve with Caper Sauce.

Caper Sauce
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1-1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1-1/2 tsp. freshly chopped parsley
1-1/2 tsp. capers

Add butter to still-hot skillet, stirring to dislodge any crab bits still stuck to the skillet.  When butter begins to brown, add juice and turn off the heat.  Throw in capers and toss.  Drizzle sauce over crab cakes and serve.