Cajun Crab Cakes

Cajun Crab Cakes

original recipe:

  • 1 pound best-quality lump crab meat (not pasteurized)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped
  • ½ poblano chile, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pure chile powder (like ancho, New Mexico, or chipotle)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Creole (or whole-grain) mustard
  • Several dashes of Louisiana hot sauce
  • 1 scallion (white and green parts), finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ¾ cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more as needed
  • Jalapeño Remoulade (recipe follows)


Place the crab meat in a large mixing bowl and carefully pick through for shells, then set aside.
Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, poblano, garlic, salt, chile powder, black pepper, and cayenne and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened but not brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a mixing bowl and set aside to cool for about 15 minutes.

Add the crab, the egg, mayonnaise, mustard, hot sauce, scallion, parsley, lemon juice, and ¼ cup of the bread crumbs to the vegetable mixture. Using your hands, gently combine the ingredients.

Using a 1-cup measuring cup, form the mixture into cakes, packing gently; they should look like hockey pucks, about 2 inches thick with straight sides. Cover the cakes and chill for 20 to 30 minutes, or overnight.

When you are ready to cook the crab cakes, place the remaining ½ cup bread crumbs in a pie tin. Dredge both sides of each cake in the crumbs, shaking off the excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, fry the crab cakes for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Do not overcrowd the pan-fry in batches if necessary, adding more oil if needed. Serve immediately, with Jalapeño Remoulade.

Jalapeño Remoulade

From Real Cajun by Donald Link and Paula Disbrowe (Clarkson Potter, 2009)

Makes about 1 ¼ cups

For the best results, make this spicy condiment a few hours in advance and then cover and refrigerate, so the flavors have time to develop.

  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions (white parts only), thinly sliced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lime

Whisk together all the ingredients in a mixing bowl; cover and refrigerate until needed.

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