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Treat Your Favorite Mother to Crab Cakes

If you are cooking for someone this Mother’s Day and searching for recipe ideas, consider making crab cakes. Tom Douglas once said, “Who doesn’t love digging into a plate of crab cakes or going after a chilled cracked crab with a crab cracker, cocktail fork, and a plastic bib for protection?”

I love digging into chilled cracked crab and proudly wear a bib for protection. I also love crab cakes. Because crab has gotten a bit pricey, making crab cakes gives you more bang for your buck. I prefer pairing my crab cakes with pineapple salsa and a spicy remoulade. Pineapple complements the sweet, creamy, yet savory flavor of crab; and, in my book, crab cakes seem naked without a spicy remoulade on the side.

Crab Cakes with a Pineapple Salsa and a Spicy Remoulade Sauce Serves 4 (Makes 12 Crab Cakes)

To cook crab legs:

Four pounds of Alaskan King crab legs will yield 1 pound of cooked crabmeat or 4 servings. You can use canned crab meat for this recipe, but the crab cakes taste better when you use Alaskan King crab legs. I like to have a can or two of canned crab on hand in case 4 pounds of Alaskan King crab legs doesn’t yield 3 cups. 6 gallons water ½ cup chardonnay wine 2 bay leaves 2 teaspoons minced garlic 2 lemon wedges 4 pounds frozen Alaskan King crab legs

Fill a large kettle with water and bring to a boil. Add chardonnay wine, bay leaves, garlic, and lemon wedges to boiling water. Add 2 pounds crab legs to the kettle and boil for 4 minutes. Remove crab legs immediately. Add remaining 2 pounds to the kettle, boil for 4 minutes, and remove. Cool. Crack legs and remove meat.

To assemble the crab cakes:

1 cup breadcrumbs 2 large eggs, beaten 3 tablespoons mayonnaise 3 tablespoons green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely diced 2 tablespoons red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely diced 2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced 2 tablespoons celery, finely diced 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, snipped 1 teaspoon minced garlic ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon dry mustard ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper 3 cups fresh crab meat, about 6 King crab legs In a medium bowl, mix together breadcrumbs, eggs, mayonnaise, green and red bell peppers, red onion, celery, parsley, garlic, salt, dry mustard, and cayenne pepper. Stir in crab meat, mixing thoroughly. Cover and chill mixture at least 2 hours or overnight.

For the pineapple salsa: 2 cups fresh pineapple, cored, peeled, and chopped ¼ cup red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced ¼ cup green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced ¼ cup red onion, diced ½ jalapeño pepper, minced 2 tablespoons green onions, thinly sliced 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, snipped 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice In a medium bowl, combine pineapple, red and green bell peppers, red onion, jalapeño pepper, green onions, cilantro, and lime juice and toss gently. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours. Makes about 3 cups.

For the remoulade:

¼ cup mayonnaise 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish 1 teaspoon pickle juice 1 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste 1 tablespoon paprika 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning 1 teaspoon minced garlic In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, horseradish, pickle juice, hot sauce, paprika, Cajun seasoning, and garlic. Mix to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. To cook and serve the crab cakes:

2 cups breadcrumbs 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil Shape crab mixture into 12 small cakes. Evenly coat each cake with the remaining breadcrumbs. You may not need to use all the breadcrumbs. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. For an electric skillet, heat at 350 degrees F. Cook crab cakes until brown and crisp, about 5 minutes per side.

To serve, place a serving of pineapple salsa on a plate along with a serving of remoulade. Top with crab cake.

Tips on buying pineapple: The secret to making great pineapple salsa is a sweet pineapple. Leaves on the crown should be fresh, with a deep green color. Pull gently on the leaves. If the leaves can be easily removed with gentle pressure, the pineapple is ripe. The stem end of a fresh pineapple will have a sweet aroma. Highly colored pineapples will have a sweeter taste because they were picked ripe.

Tips on buying crab: Cooked, ready-to-eat crab is available at your supermarket either fresh, frozen, or pasteurized in cans. Crab should feel cold to the touch when you purchase it. Any exposed meat should be white in color. If you are buying frozen, check the package for ice crystals. This is a sign of freezer burn. Most Alaskan King crab legs sold in the supermarket are slightly pre-cooked, then frozen. Ask your fishmonger if the crab you are purchasing has been slightly cooked. This is important because it is easy to overcook pre-cooked crab.

Tips on cooking crab: When cooking with partially cooked crab, the best results are obtained by thawing crab legs or claws and adding them at the last moment, cooking just until heated through, then serving immediately.

Carol Ann

Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Insider Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at and explore her website,

Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved Carol Ann Kates

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