OK, a little supermarket lesson: You can find lump crab in the fish case at the supermarket, usually near the smoked salmon and other fishy stuff. It comes in little tubs in different levels of lumpiness. In other areas of life (think mattresses) lumpiness isn’t a goal, but with picked crab meat, it is. The general rule is, the larger the lumps, the pricier the crab. So while “jumbo” will cost you more, really any kind is good here. Letting the uncooked, prepared-but-not-yet-cooked crab cakes chill before frying helps them bind together without having to add a ton of bread crumbs and other fillers to glue them together. This means more pure crabby flavor, which is almost as good as cake by the ocean.
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce, such as Crystal
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons minced chives
- 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over
- 1⁄3 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1⁄2 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup finely diced onion
- ¼ cup finely diced green bell pepper
- ¼ cup finely diced celery
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Southern style hot sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon ground caraway or celery seed
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Softened butter, for toasting buns
- 4 potato buns
- Sliced tomatoes and butter lettuce leaves, for serving
- 8 small butter lettuce slices
Form the crab cakes:
In a bowl, whisk together the egg, mayo, mustard, hot sauce, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, and chives. Gently fold in the crabmeat and panko, trying not to break up the crab. (It’s just a little bit of bread crumbs to hold the cakes together, not a filler!) Form into 4 equal-sized (about 4 inches arond and 1 inch thick) crab cakes, arrange them on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Make the Southern mayo:
Stir together the mayonnaise, onion, pepper, celery, olive oil, hot sauce, caraway, and salt until smooth. Chill until ready to use.
Fry the crab cakes:
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Gently lay the crab cakes in the oil and fry until golden on the underside, 4 minutes. Gently flip and fry an additional 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels and cover with foil to keep warm.
Build the sandwiches:
Preheat the broiler. Lightly butter the buns and broil them until lightly golden, 1 to 3 minutes depending on your broiler. Spread some mayo in each bun, then later with a slice of tomato, 2 pieces of butter lettuce, and a crab cake. Enjoy!