Here’s the next Seafood for the Future dish I prepared… Crab Cake Sandwiches
I was going to make a nice simple crab salad, but for one reason or another, it just didn’t quite work out. So, I had a few ingredients left from the salad and decided to combine them in a different manner.
Crab cakes are so iconic that I thought I’d try making them. Hmm, and I had some lettuce and tomatoes, and well, I had purchased a beautiful loaf of sourdough bread. It all just seems to say, “make crab cake sandwiches.” So, that’s what I decided to do.
The crab I had was in a can. Honestly, I didn’t know that crab came in a can like that from the refrigerator section. I guess I don’t look for crab at the store very often.
The canned crab was already steamed, so it would be perfect for crab cakes; no worries about it being undercooked or raw.
When I opened the can, I sniffed at the crab to see what it smelled like. It was like the ocean, so I knew it was fresh. The smell was a bit stronger than canned tuna. And, since it was steamed already, I decided to take a taste. Salty. Stronger flavor than, say, canned tuna. The crab inside the can was already flaked, and on top of the flaked crab there was some crab craw meat placed decoratively around the top. The other thing I noticed about the crab meat was that this looked nothing like that imitation crab with the bright red almost orange outside coating and the pure white inside. This looked real.
The crab cakes were quite easy to prepare, and the recipe is just a simple traditional crab cake. A little salt, a little breadcrumb, some egg to bind it all together. One of the changes I made to the more traditional crab cake is that I used sour cream instead of mayo. I’m not that fond of the flavor or the calorie content of mayo, so I tend to replace it in most recipes. Sour cream is a little wetter than mayo, that’s why you may need to drain the crab mixture. Frying up the crab cakes is as simple as making pancakes, and I think most people are pretty familiar with this activity. A medium hot pan works best here, because you want to allow the inside of the cake to cook as well as get a nice crust on the outside of the cake. You’ll want to make sure you have a nice non-stick skillet and a good flat spatula. If you have these pieces of equipment, you shouldn’t have any problem with the cakes sticking.
Once the crab cakes are fried up (which only takes about 10 minutes per cake), getting the sandwich together is a snap. And, frying up a bunch of cakes is easy if you have a large griddle-type pan. The other nice thing about these cakes, is that the crab doesn’t dry out if slightly overcooked. The worst part would be if you burned the cake, but a quick peek under the cooking cake easily tells you how it’s going.
You’ll get some crunch from the toasty bread, acid from the tomato, creaminess from the avocado, and fresh herbs from the radish sprouts and the chives. And, of course, the crab cake itself, with all that real crab in it, is a great salty element in your lunch. I like the crunchy warm cake on the sandwich, but then, sandwiches are one of my favorite meals, especially if there’s avocado on the sandwich! The crab itself isn’t too fishy or fatty. It has a nice light flavor, and making crab cakes is pretty traditional. You could also substitute canned tuna instead of the crab in the cake; that would give a very friendly, familiar flavor to the sandwich.
I really like crab. The first time I had it was fresh from the Puget Sound when some friends caught and cleaned some live Dungeness crab to share with us. They steamed the crab inside the shells. My biggest impression was that it took so long to eat the crab because the meat was inside all these little crevasses. All that extra work is eliminated by using canned crab!
Crab is a pretty sustainable little critter. And, I know that Alaskan crab is kept in check by placing limits on the fishermen. Hey, I watched Deadliest Catch. Also, check out NOAA’s fishwatch for more info on crab.
These crab cake sandwiches would be enough for a nice lunch, but you could also serve them with salt and vinegar chips or with oven baked French fries.
Serve warm crab cakes on toasted sourdough bread with lettuce, avocado, tomato slices, onion slices, and radish sprouts.
Crab Cake Sandwiches Recipe
Crab Cake Sandwiches
- 8 oz crab meat drained of any liquid
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup sour cream or mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives or green onion
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs or panko
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or safflower oil for frying
- sourdough bread sliced and toasted
- tomato slices
- red onion slices
- radish sprouts optional
- In a medium bowl, gently mix the first eight ingredients (crab through breadcrumbs) together. Allow mixture to drain in a fine-mesh strainer for a few minutes.
- Using your hands, form patties approximately the same size as the sliced bread.
- Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet or a large griddle set over medium heat. Once oil is hot and shimmers (just below the smoking point), carefully place the patties one at a time in the pan, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook patties until they are golden brown on the first side, about 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip crab cakes and fry on other side until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove the patties from the oil once they are golden brown on each side, about 10 minutes total, and place patties directly on the toasted bread that has been layered with lettuce leaves. Fry up any additional patties, adding oil between each cake as necessary.
Makes 3 large sandwiches