Ritzy Crab Cakes
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2-2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1 lb fresh lump blue crab meat
- 1/2 cup Ritz cracker crumbs about one sleeve
At least ONE HOUR before you want to bake the crab cakes.
- In a large bowl, whisk the egg, mayonnaise, dijon, Old Bay together until smooth. Add the crab meat and cracker crumbs. Use your hands, or a spoon if you are squeamish, to evenly distribute all ingredients. The mixture should be able to hold its shape. If it's too dry, add more mayo. If it's too wet, add more Ritz crumbs.
- Cover tightly (I like these lids) and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 24.
- Preheat oven to 375. Butter a baking sheet. Use a 1/2 cup measuring cup (rounded if you have it) and portion out the crab cakes on the buttered sheets, about 1-2 inches apart. You should have about 6 crab cakes.
- Top each with a sliver of butter.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned and heated all the way through. You can broil them briefly for more color if needed.
- Serve immediately or at room temperature.
Since it was my birthday and we couldn’t go anywhere (thanks to life and pandemic conspiring against me once again) I went all out for my meals that day. I went to the seafood market and bought soft crabs for lunch, claw, and lump crab meat the day before so I’d be all ready.
For lunch, we had soft crab sandwiches (with Old Bay hot sauce added to the egg!) with yellow tomatoes and lettuce. My husband made some potato salad, some fancy deviled eggs, and a coca-cola cake so all we had to do was make the crab cakes for dinner. Not as easy as going out to eat but not bad either.
I know I have posted a few crab cake recipes here before. Growing up my mom always fried them and made them with more affordable backfin or a mix of backfin and lump and torn bread (recipe here). That’s very good and how I sort of think of crab cakes in general because growing up, we didn’t really go to restaurants or get take out so we’d make our own for special occasions.
As an adult, I’ve made non-Old Bay crabcakes which, while tasty, seemed wrong and a version closer to what my mom made but with saltines instead of bread which is another homestyle crab cake technique that a lot of other families I knew over the years did instead. Basically, they are all good.
However, these are not, by and large, the crab cakes that you will encounter at restaurants. Those crab cakes are always made with lump (even jumbo lump) and very little filler. They are also more often broiled, not fried. Lump crab meat is the most delicately flavored, most expensive (there is very little of it in each crab) yet fairly sturdy of the crab meats. It’s large chunks of straight crab which are not only eye-catching in the crab cake but satisfying to bite into. This recipe makes those kind of crab cakes.
This spring we watched Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu and Kerry Washington’s character makes the family she’s working for meatloaf using Ritz crackers. What a meatloaf revelation! I made a meatloaf that way earlier in the month and really was very good–buttery and rich but not overpowering.
So when it came time to make some fancy crabcakes for my birthday I thought, why not try it with Ritz? Turns out, it was a great idea. These crab cakes had a ton of fresh crab flavor but just a hint of something rich and almost buttery but you wouldn’t quite guess it’s Ritz crackers. It’s almost as if the crab cake is being held together by nothing but an egg but it’s at the same time creamy and solid. It was really a revelation. The Ritz crackers were so light!
As I said, restaurant generally broil crabs like this but for at home, I found that baking the crab cakes browns them and ensures that they are cooked through (raw egg) which can be tricky with a home broiler. You can always broil them briefly at the end if you want them extra browned or with a slight crunch.
These are much more delicate than the fried crab cake recipes I linked above so I don’t recommend frying them.
I will say that lump (or jumbo lump) crab meat is very expensive but for special occasions, I think it’s worth it. Your side dishes should be simple anyway to make the crab cake the star! If you serve them with a dipping sauce, I recommend tartar sauce with a little Old Bay stirred in. Cocktail sauce is popular too but I find it can be a little overpowering.