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Entries in The White House Maryland Crab Cakes (1)


The White House Maryland Crab Cakes

I got this recipe for Maryland Style Crab Cakes from an old White House cookbook someone loaned me.  The recipe calls for a white sauce which makes a more stable binder, unlike prepared mayonnaise, which breaks down and gets greasy when cooked. 

Use the best fresh picked crab meat you can find, and handle it as little as possible to keep the it from becoming tough.  I don’t make this with anything that comes out of can.  

I make the sauce a day in advance and refrigerate for convenience and ease of handling, just pat any condensation dry with a paper towel before proceeding.  I also make the crab cakes several hours earlier, and then sauté right from the refrigerator.  You should get about 14 crab cakes, and two would make a meal.

Binder Sauce   

2 Tbs unsalted butter
1 Tbs minced shallots
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 Tbs flour
1 cup milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 Tbs lemon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon prepared mustard
1 tsp Tabasco Sauce                 
1 Tbs Worcester sauce
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning

For the crab cakes:

1 lb jumbo lump crab meat
1 lb back fin crab meat
2 cups panko or homemade soft breadcrumbs
Butter for sauteing

One Day in Advance, Make the Sauce

  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter, and sauté the shallots and garlic until translucent.  Add the flour and stir, letting the roué bubble for a few minutes, but don’t let brown.
  • Add the hot milk and whisk.  Remove the pan from the heat for this step, and while whisking, drizzle in the beaten egg, being careful not let the egg scramble at the bottom of the hot pan. 
  • Add the lemon juice, dry mustard, Tabasco, Worcester and Old Bay seasoning and whisk.  Let the sauce cool, or refrigerate until ready to mix the crab cakes. 

Make the Crab Cakes:

  • In a medium bowl, gently pick over crab meat, feeling for shell pieces, but not breaking up the lumps.
  • Add the sauce and with a rubber spatula, very gently fold ALMOST all of the sauce in until just combined.  Hold back about 1/3 cup of the binder sauce.  It’s just a little too much sauce for this much crab, but it’s easier than trying to scale down the recipe.
  • Spread the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl.  Use a 1/3 cup measure and scoop the crab meat into it, pressing slightly into the cup.  Gently drop the crab meat into the breadcrumbs. 
  • With your hands, toss the breadcrumbs around the sides and over the crab meat.  With your hands, gently pick up the cake, and pat slightly to shape and hold the crumbs in place.  Place on a plate or baking tray, cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.
  • Melt the butter in a non-stick pan until it bubbles.  Gently place the crab cakes in the pan, about 6 to a 11-12 inch pan.  If you crowd then, you will have trouble flipping them without breaking them.  Using two spatulas, gently flip the cakes until they are slightly more than golden brown on each side.