While living in the Washington, DC area, I made it a personal mission to find the most flavorful crab cake. While many excellent crab cakes were devoured on my quest, all of them included either breadcrumbs or crackers as a binder. Thus began my efforts to determine how to create a “crab cake” without a binder ingredient. Finally I determined it was not a need for an additional ingredient to serve as a binker; it was a need to change the cooking method.
Baking in custard cups rather than frying or broiling allows the elimination of breadcrumbs. Brushing the cups and tops of the crab cakes with olive oil and baking at high heat provides a crusted outside similar to more traditional crab cakes. Finishing with a drizzle of spiced aioli sauce, green onions, and a lemon wedge provides an appetizer visually appealing as well as flavorful.
2 T roasted garlic infused extra virgin olive oil (can substitute regular extra virgin olive oil and add pinch garlic powder to oil), divided
1 pound lump or jumbo lump crab meat, picked through and well drained
2 t Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 t dry mustard
2 T finely chopped red pepper
1/2 T finely chopped jalapeno
2 T lemon juice
1 T melted ghee (clarified butter)
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 lemon, cut into 8 slices
Spiced Aioli Sauce
¾ c mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ½ T lemon Juice
1/2 t Old Bay Seasoning
¼ t salt
1/8 t ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450°. Place a baking sheet in the oven on rack in middle of the oven.
Brush 8 custard cups with one tablespoon roasted garlic infused olive oil.
Gently mix crabmeat, seasoning, dry mustard, red pepper and jalapeno. Divide crabmeat mixture evenly between custard cups being careful not to break up lumps. Pack mix tightly in cups.
Sprinkle lemon juice evenly over crabmeat. Brush top of crab cakes with olive oil. Place on baking sheet in oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes until top is crisp. Watch closely to avoid burning the crab. Remove from oven. Let cook 2 minutes. Run a sharp knife around edge of custard cup, place serving dish over cup and turn upside down, allowing crab cake to “fall” onto serving plate.
Spiced Aioli Sauce
Mix mayonnaise, garlic, lemons juice, Old Bay Seasoning, salt and pepper in a bowl. Refrigerate while crab is cooking.
While crab is baking, heat 1tablespoon ghee in small skillet over medium high heat. Add thinly sliced green onions and cook 2-3 minutes or until crisp but not browned. Transfer to paper towels.
To serve, drizzle crab cakes with Spicy Aioli Sauce. Evenly distribute green onions over aioli sauce. Place one lemon wedge on each plate. Additional sauce may be served on the side.
drizzle crab cakes with Spicy Aioli Sauce. Evenly distribute green onions over aioli sauce. Place one lemon wedge on each plate. Additional sauce may be served on the side.