Dungeness Crab Cakes
These special crab cakes are headed to Fiesta Friday #52 at the Novice Gardener. This is a special one year anniversary block party. I plan to make these cakes the size of a silver dollar for appetizers and pass them around with a small cube of avocado and a dollop of wasabi mayonnaise. Please join Angie and our friends for the fun.
Dungeness crab is found only on the West coast, from the chilly waters of Northern California up into Canada. The season runs from around Thanksgiving to August 1, closing briefly during the crab molting period for them to fill out. When molting the crabs use their meat for energy and will bury themselves in the ocean floor. Only mature male crabs are harvested and they must measure at least 6.25 inches across the back of the shell. Any undersized or female crabs are released back to the ocean to continue the mating cycle, ensure healthy stocks and future harvests.
The “meat-to-shell” ratio for Dungeness is approximately 25%, which makes it one of the meatier crabs available. A 2-pound crab will produce about ½ pound of picked meat. Dungeness crab meat is delicious and sweet tasting.
I purchased several crabs off the fishing boat when visiting the Mendocino coast, we ate most of the meat cold, simply picked and eaten with crusty bread, salad, and a crisp white wine. To my joy, there was a bit over a pound of meat left over for making crab cakes.
I prefer my crab cakes to taste of crab, not breadcrumbs, and take my inspiration from sushi; specifically California rolls. These are considered “maki sushi” or rolls. They consist of seaweed wrapped around cooked crab, avocado, rice, and cucumber; often seasoned with wasabi paste. You also find them in what is called a “hand roll” where the seaweed is wrapped into a cone around the filling.
Make time so the crab cakes should chill for an hour before frying. Make these into small cakes around 1-½ inches in diameter to serve as a starter of appetizer for a party. They can be made a bit ahead and warmed in a 200 degree F. oven.
Dungeness Crab Cakes
- About 1 pound of crab meat (Dungeness or other)
- ½ cup of mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon of wasabi paste (to taste)
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 egg, beaten
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- Medium grind cornmeal, you’ll need about ½ cup
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Prepare a large baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper
- Mix the crab, mayonnaise, wasabi paste, lemon zest, and soy sauce together in a large bowl. Mix gently so the crab stays in fairly large chunks. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
- Add the beaten egg to the mix and stir gently.
- Pour the cornmeal into a plate.
- With wet hands form the crab mixture into patties, I made fairly large ones, but small ones are especially nice if you are serving them as a first coarse or at a cocktail party.
- Roll the patties in cornmeal and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Place in the fridge to chill for at least an hour.
- When ready to cook, heat a shimmer of oil in a large skillet on medium high heat.
- Add the crab cakes, flattening them slightly. Cook until brown on one side then turn to brown the other side. Turn down the heat if they are cooking to quickly. The interior should be cooked through and the outside crisp and brown.
- Serve with avocado, additional soy sauce, cilantro, steamed rice, and a lemon wedge on the side. Or, serve them as party food with a small slice of avocado and a leaf of cilantro on top.
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I served these larger for dinner but am taking smaller ones to the party.