I was reading about this lobster festival in Rockland, Maine that happens every August. I put it on my list of random things I want to do. In the meantime, I traveled vicariously by doing a google maps street view tour and making some crab cakes with tartar sauce. I know it’s not lobster, but that’s a story and recipe for another day.

Crab Cakes - 1

You can make the same bad joke about tartar as you can about couscous, “So good they named it twice.” Only in this case if they didn’t name it twice, it’d be tar… You know the sad thing is that after the BP spill, “crab cakes with tar” might’ve been fitting. Poor crabs.

Crab Cakes - Tartar

There are different types of crab cakes: Maryland crab cakes, Baltimore crab cakes, Restaurant, Boardwalk, New England, Chesapeake Bay… sort of like how there are different types of BBQ. Each has a different characteristic like they use crumbled saltines or are deep fried. I call these Arizona crab cakes because I’m from Arizona. It’s not a real thing. It’s not like all AZ crab cakes have these ingredients. In fact, if you google, “Arizona crab cake recipe,” I bet no Arizona-specific recipes show up. Probably because Arizona doesn’t have a coast and there aren’t any crabs here… Well anyways, now maybe this recipe will pop up…

Crab Cakes - 2

1/4 c sour cream
3/4 c homemade mayo
1/2-1 lemon, juiced
2-3 dill pickles, minced
1/2 tsp pickle juice
1 green onion/scallion, minced
a dash worcestershire (optional)
a dash hot sauce (optional)

This recipe’s a little more complicated then it needs to be. The key ingredients for tartar are mayo + minced pickles, followed by lemon. The rest is more if-you-have-it-toss-it-in stuff.

1. Combine all ingredients together and then refrigerate a few hours. You want to make you tartar sauce first, so the flavors can combine.

Crab Cakes - 3

makes about 8

24 oz lump crab, drained and picked through (watch for pieces of shell)
3-4 spring onions/scallions, minced
1 bell pepper, diced (if it’s real big, just use half)
1/4-1/3 c mayo
1 lemon, juiced
2 eggs
10 or so chives, sliced into ringlets
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
a few dashes of worcestershire
a few dashes of hot sauce (like Tapatio)
3/4 c panko crumbs + extra for dipping

1/4 c veg oil

1. Mix together everything, except the crab and the vegetable oil (that’s for pan frying them).Then add in the crab. Don’t mix the crab meat too much, or it’ll smoosh and you’ll lose some of that texture.
2. Form the crab cakes into patties. I use an ice cream scoop and then flatten them with my palm. Place on a parchment line baking tray and refrigerate for 30-45 min (or freeze for no more than 15 min).
3. Pour some additional panko crumbs into a dish.
4. Take out the crab cakes from the fridge, and carefully dip the patties in the crumbs on both sides. The crab cakes are pretty delicate. Refrigerating helps them firm up a bit, and the parchment absorbs some moisture, so they’re a little easier to handle.
5. Heat the oil in the pan.
6. Add in the crab cakes. You might have to do it in two batches. Cook for a about 3-4 minutes on each side until browned.
7. Transfer to some paper towels to absorb the oil and then serve with the tartar and a lemon wedge.