Maryland Crab Cakes with a Tarragon and Butter Sauce
Everywhere you go on the east coast of the USA you will find crab cakes. Two secrets to their making: use good crab and as little as possible of anything else; chill them for a good hour to firm them up before cooking.
- 500g fresh white crab meat
- 40g cream crackers or saltines, finely crushed
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp English mustard powder
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- A dash of Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 4 tbsp Clarified butter (see method below)
- For the tarragon and butter sauce:
- 50ml white wine vinegar
- 4 tbsp Clarified butter
- 1 plum tomato, skinned, seeded and diced
- 1 tsp chopped tarragon
Put the crab meat into a bowl and add just enough of the cracker crumbs to absorb any moisture. You may not need to add them all.
Break the egg into a small bowl and whisk in the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and some seasoning. Fold this mixture into the crab meat, trying not to break up the lumps of crab. Stir in the parsley.
Shape the mixture into eight 8cm patties, put them on a plate, cover with cling film and chill for at least 1 hour.
For the clarified butter, place butter in a small pan and leave over a low heat until the water has been driven off and the solids have fallent to the bottom. Skim off any scum from the surface and pour off the clear (clarified) butter into a bowl, leaving behind the milky white solids that will have settled on the bottom of the pan.
Heat the clarified butter in a large frying pan. Add the crab cakes (in 2 batches if necessary) and cook over a medium heat for 2–3 minutes on each side until crisp and richly golden.
For the sauce, boil the vinegar in a small pan until reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Add the clarified butter, tomato, tarragon and some salt and pepper and gently warm through. Serve with the crab cakes.
See how to dress a crab in Rick's brilliant video tutorials: