Jumbo lump crab meat shines brightly in this recipe for griddle grilled crab cakes with rosemary aioli.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Many years ago, I was introduced to crab cakes by a waiter who insisted that they were better than what I would find in Maryland. To the contrary, what I received was more “cake” than “crab,” a dense patty that tasted like Italian seasoned sawdust with no noticeable crab meat in sight. Since then, I have been apprehensive about ordering crab cakes while dining out, preferring instead to make them at home, where I can ensure that the crab is truly the star of the show.
It all begins with high quality crab meat. Just like steak, you get what you pay for, so be prepared to spend a little more for premium jumbo lump crab meat. After that, keep the additional ingredients (i.e. filler) to a minimum. The goal is to gently flavor the crab while adding just enough bread crumbs and egg to hold them together during the cooking process.
Next, when blending the ingredients, it’s important not to overwork the crab meat. Instead, I gently fold these precious jewels into the other ingredients so that they remain as whole as possible. Finally, when cooking the crab cakes, the secret is to brown the exterior while gently warming the interior. For this, I utilize one of our favorite techniques – griddle grilling. Round them out with a flavorful rosemary aioli and you’ll have no need to ever roll the dice on restaurant crab cakes again!
Serve with: pinot grigio
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup loosely packed parsley
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon Morton coarse kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
The Crab Cake
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs (2/3 cup for binder, 1 1/3 cup for exterior coating)
- 1 pound jumbo lump crab meat
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- Prep. To create the rosemary aioli, begin by mincing the garlic and finely chop the rosemary.
- Combine the mayonnaise, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a blender. Puree the mixture until smooth. Refrigerate the rosemary aioli until ready to use.
- In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, egg, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay seasoning, and 2/3 cup of the Panko breadcrumbs (the remainder of the breadcrumbs with be used to coat the exterior of the crab cakes). Mix ingredients until fully combined. Gently fold the crab meat into the mixture trying not to break up the crab meat any more than necessary.
- Divide the crab mixture into 1/4 cup portions then gently form into 6 to 8 1-inch thick patties. Pour the remaining panko breadcrumbs into a shallow bowl. Coat each side of the crab cake patties with the panko breadcrumbs. Refrigerate the crab cakes while you pre-heat the grill.
- Fire up. Prepare a grill for direct cooking by evenly spreading a chimney full of pre-heated charcoal briquets across the grill’s charcoal grate. Adjust the grill vents to bring the temperature to about 375°F. On a gas grill, adjust the temperature knobs to maintain a temperature of approximately 375°F.
- Add a griddle to the main grill grate and let it preheat for at least 5 minutes.
- Once the griddle is hot, coat the top with canola oil.
- Cook. Griddle grill the crab cakes, flipping every 2 minutes until cooked through and golden brown on both sides, approximately 8 to 10 minutes total. Note that hot spots on the griddle may require you to move some of the crab cakes to another part of the griddle if they are browning too quickly.
- Serve. Remove the crab cakes from the griddle, plate, and top with the rosemary aioli. Serve immediately.