My Best Crab Cakes

By CHEF HOWARD KARP for the Flathead Beacon

It took me many years of trial and error to create the perfect crab cake recipe. I probably have five different recipes for crab cakes, but this one consistently receives the most rave reviews from my clients. The key to perfect crab cakes is the quality of crab meat used. In this recipe, I have given the flavor and texture of the crab an elegant twist by using a smooth, fluffy sea scallop mousseline. Most recipes call for mayonnaise and bread crumbs to create a filler which, in turn, overshadows the crab.

When making this recipe, it is most important to thoroughly chill the scallops, cream and egg as well as the blender and container prior to blending. If this step is missed, the mixture may break.


Here’s what you will need:

3 1/2 ounces sea scallops

1 egg

Salt and pepper to taste

Couple splashes of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco

1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat (small cartilage), picked through

2 tablespoons tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and diced

1 tablespoon cilantro, minced

1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Yield: 8 crab cakes

  • Place scallops, egg, salt and pepper in blender, and pulse until thoroughly blended.
  • While blender is running, add cream in slow steady stream, and blend until silky smooth.
  • Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl.
  • Add crabmeat, tomatoes, mustard, cilantro, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and olive oil.
  • Gently mix and adjust the seasoning to your liking if necessary.
  • Shape crab mixture into patties approximately ¼-inch thick and 2 ½ inches across.
  • Refrigerate patties for 15 minutes before cooking.
  • Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet.
  • Sauté patties over medium-high heat for approximately 2 ½ minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.
  • Place on sheet pan, and bake in a 350-degree preheated oven for 5 minutes.

Note: This recipe does not require any breading on the crab cakes. If a crispier outside texture is desired, coat the patties in Panko bread crumbs, and slightly pat to remove excess crumbs.

Light mustard sauce

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons whole grain mustard


White pepper

Place egg yolk, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard and chicken stock into blender. Blend until smooth for approximately 30 seconds. Drizzle in olive oil until sauce is emulsified (appears creamy). Add whole grain mustard. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.

To serve, ladle some of the mustard sauce onto each plate. Place crab cakes over sauce, and drizzle remaining sauce over cakes.

I hope your guests enjoy these unforgettable crab cakes as much as my clients do. I invite you to share your feedback with me by emailing me at Bon Appétit!

For more information about the Culinary Institute of Montana at FVCC,