Monday, March 30, 2009

Crab Cakes

Most crab cakes have fillers: potatoes, bread crumbs, peppers and or onions, mayonaise - take your pick.** The dungeness crab cakes Ed and I had recently (February 2009) at the Center Cafe* in Moab, UT seemed to be pure crab...well crab plus something to hold the crab together. They were spectacular!

Soon after we returned home, I found dungeness crab on special at Costco and that was enough to inspire me to experiment. After perusing several crab cake recipes, I decided to use egg and a bit of flour as the "binder". Here is the resulting recipe which Ed and I decided comes pretty close to Center Cafe's. The mustard addition is mine; Center Cafe served their crab cakes with tomato coulis and creme fraiche. While the Costo crab (canned and refrigerated) is okay,  I have since decided I much prefer to use fresh crab, either Dungeness or King Crab.

Makes 4 medium size crab cakes - Serves 2 as an entree; 4 as an appetizer.

Pick the meat from:

One dungeness crab (about 2.5 pounds; this should yield a little over half a pound of meat) or ~ 1 1/4 King Crab legs/claws. Alternatively you can buy 8 oz of lump crab.

Mix with:

1 egg, well beaten
1 T flour
1 t Ducktrap River Mustard Dill Sauce (optional)

Shape into 4 cakes, putting cakes on a plate/pan that has been covered with wax paper.

Refrigerate up to several hours. Just before cooking, place crab cakes in the freezer for 5-10 minutes so they become firmer and easier to handle without falling apart. Dip each crab cake in:


to lightly coat each side. Meanwhile heat

2 T olive oil

in a skillet large enough to hold all four cakes. Place the crab cakes in the hot oil and cook 2-3 minutes on each side until the crab is heated through and the surface is browned (if raw crab is used, the cooking time will need to be increased so that the crab is cooked through, 4-5 minutes per side depending on thickness of the cakes).

Serve with:

Lemon wedges
Mustard Dill Sauce

*2010 CENTER CAFE no longer has menu we have enjoyed - serving "gourmet" pizza and salads; 2011 Closed :-(

December 2013:  I was making crab cakes the other night and about to fry then in oil on the stove, when Ed suggested "we keep the galley clean and cook them on the grill like the scallops".  He heated the griddle, added a thin coating of olive oil and when the oil was hot placed the crab cakes on the griddle.  He cooked the crab cakes about 3 minutes on a side until just heated through.  (Photo at left: cooked on grill, very hot griddle placed on stove for serving) Great suggestion!

** July 2017: In fact some are not even made with real crab but with imitation crab, some brands of this product better than others.  Buyer beware!

Reviewed 7/9/2017


Ed and I just got back from a trip to Colorado and Utah which included 3 glorious days in Moab. We had a great hike into Delicate Arch the first afternoon.

A fabulous day in the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands followed. At Canyonlands we hiked to and around Upheaval Dome and out to Green River Overlook and Grand View Point Overlook which has marvelous views of the Green and Colorado rivers 2000 feet below.

 Finally, the third day we had an awesome hike (not recommended for those with acrophobia) to Devil's Garden and Double Arch via the Primitive Loop Trail.

The first night we had dinner at our favorite Moab restaurant, Center Cafe*.  The dungeness crab cake appetizer and the risotto with sage and butternut squash entrees were so delicious we returned a second night. We had an awesome beet, hazelnut, arugula salad with horseradish panne cotta for an appetizer, crab cakes (because they were I think the best crab cakes we've ever had) as entrees with a side of the risotto since they did not have a different vegetarian offering that evening. Since the chocolate cake we had the previous night was not particularly memorable and they were out of their specialty creme brulee and especially because we were pleasantly full, we skipped dessert.

I think I've nailed the Crab Cakes as well as the Winter Squash Sage Risotto recipes, and finally after a miserable failure, I've finally (2011) come up with a reasonable facsimile of the Beet Salad with Horseradish "Panna Cotta"

*2010 CENTER CAFE no longer has menu we have enjoyed - serving "gourmet" pizza and salads; 2011 Closed :-(

All photos this entry © 2009 Edward C. Kern, Jr.

September 2017:  On our last couple visits to Moab we have stayed at the Sunflower Hill, a bed and breafkast which we enjoyed.  The last time we were there we tried Desert Bistro for dinner. Though I can't recall what we ordered, I do remember the dinner was good, and not as expensive as suggested by the current menu.

April 2018; We visited Moab March 19-21, perhaps a bit later than we usually go in the spring and found it was considerably more crowded.    Probably as a result of this increasing traffic, "The latest plan by the National Park Service is to start requiring reservations to visit Arches by private vehicle from March to October starting next year.We spent an afternoon at Canyonlands, A day at Arches climbing the long and short trails to Delicate Arch, and hiking around the Windows.  Again we stayed at the Sunflower Inn and enjoyed two dinners at Desert Bistro.  The first night we shared a salad and each had an entree.  Along with the excellent bread that starts the meal we both agreed it was too much food.  However, the remaining chicken and bread made excellent sandwiches for the next day.  The second night we shared an appetizer, barely braised tuna (stay tuned for recipe), a salad and an entree. Considering the entree  "Grilled marinated Pork Tenderloin served with apple-chipotle pepper beurre blanc, accompanied by crisp shredded potato & herb gallette and sautéed vegetables" contained  over 8 ounces of pork (the amount of meat I buy when shopping for the two of us), this was plenty for Ed and me.  Wish Desert Distro, like some of our other favorite restaurants, had small plate options. Singha Thai Cuisine located in the same space that previously accomodated the Center Cafe was recommended by Sunflower Hill staff, but we belatedly discovered that it is closed on Tuesday nights. The morning of the 21st we visited the Landscape Arch area before heading for lunch along Route 128 at Fisher Towers on our way back to Carbondale.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Reviewed 9/20/2017
April 2018 update added