Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients. This is a terrific crab cake: It's crunchy (no squishy interior here) and flavorful (bell peppers and onions), but nothing drowns out the unmistakable crab taste. If you don't have fresh thyme, substitute 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme.
Of the 50 recipes in Tom Douglas's new book, this is his personal favorite. Named for Douglas's daughter Loretta, it's a top seller at his restaurants. Being based in Seattle, Douglas makes these with Dungeness crab, but he acknowledges that blue crab makes the best-textured crab cakes. We agree.
Serve with tartar or cocktail sauce and coleslaw on the side.
Servings: 4 - 6
- 4 to 5 slices white sandwich bread with crust, torn into pieces
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
- 2 1/2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1 pound lump backfin crabmeat, picked over and lightly squeezed if wet
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Lemon wedges, for garnish
Place the bread pieces in a food processor and pulse them to a fine crumb. Transfer to a baking dish. Without cleaning the food processor, pulse the parsley until finely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of it to the bread crumbs and reserve the rest. Cover and refrigerate.
In a food processor or a blender, pulse the egg yolk, lemon juice, Worcestershire and hot pepper sauces, mustard, paprika, thyme, celery seeds and pepper. With the motor running, slowly add the oil to form a mayonnaise. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the onion and bell peppers with the remaining (about 1/4 cup) parsley. Add the reserved mayonnaise and the crabmeat and mix lightly, then add 1 cup of the bread crumb-parsley mixture, taking care not to overmix. Gently form 8 patties, about 3 inches wide and 1 inch thick. Lightly coat the patties with some of the remaining bread crumb-parsley mixture. If you have time, cover the crab cakes with plastic wrap and chill for an hour to further firm them up.
Using 2 large nonstick skillets over medium heat, melt 2 1/2 tablespoons butter in each pan. Add 4 crab cakes to each pan. Gently fry until hot through and golden brown, about 4 minutes per side or until an instant-read thermometer registers 155 degrees. Serve with lemon wedges.
Adapted from "I Love Crab Cakes!" by Tom Douglas (William Morrow, 2006),
Tested by Marcia Kramer.
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