Stroll “restaurant row” at any of the early fall boat shows—Newport, TrawlerFest Baltimore, Annapolis—and you’re sure to encounter a crab cake or two. The legendary crab-country take on the cranky crustacean headlines the appetizer section of almost every fancy seafood restaurant menu. Must be a pain in the tailfin to make, right? Not so.

They’re easier, and much more galley friendly, than you might think. Here’s how to tantalize your guests’ taste buds en route to your favorite boat show this season.

A few tips, if we may: Use real mayonnaise. It lets the crab meat shine. But if your crew is on a health kick, Greek yogurt is a worthy substitute. You can also bake them (we call that “galley-down” style) to avoid the grease, but you’ll miss that crunchy golden crust, which is really half the fun. For a little extra kick, throw in a few dashes of cayenne pepper at the end. 

INGREDIENTS

1/3 c. mayonnaise

1 large egg

2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 tsp. Worcestershire

1/2 tsp. hot sauce

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 lb. jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over for shells

3/4 c. panko bread crumbs (or saltines)

2 Tbsp. parsley chopped

Canola oil, for frying

Lemon wedges

Tartar sauce

DIRECTIONS

In a small bowl, whisk together mayo, egg, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire and hot sauce, and season with salt and pepper.

In a medium bowl, stir together crabmeat, panko and parsley. Fold in mayo mixture, then divide to form 8 patties.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, coat pan with oil and heat until shimmering. Add crab cakes and cook, in batches, until golden and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes per side.

Serve with lemon and tartar sauce.

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