The Ingredient That Will Elevate Your Crab Cakes

Any seafood lover will tell you that crab cakes are one of the tastiest ways to enjoy this sweet-fleshed crustacean. They are typically a mix of crab meat, a bready filler such as bread or cracker crumbs, eggs, and additional flavorings like Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, or Old Bay Seasoning. The cakes are then pan-fried in butter or baked in the oven until golden and crispy. They are usually served with simple, cozy sides such as grilled asparagus, coleslaw, and corn on the cob (via Southern Living), but crab cakes also make a great sandwich when piled onto a high-quality bun.

Much like veggie burger patties or potato cakes, crab cakes can be adapted in many ways, from incorporating roasted red peppers (via Home & Plate) to swapping out bread filler for zucchini, chickpeas, and heart of palm. And Serious Eats suggests thinking on these lines anyway, as an overly bready cake will drown out the flavor of the crab. So, how can one cut down on filler while ensuring that the cakes hold together while cooking? With the help of another seafood, of course!

Bind your crab cake with shrimp purée

When making crab cakes, it's essential to add only the bare minimum of binders such as bread crumbs, mayonnaise, or eggs, according to Cook's Illustrated. These ingredients, while helping the cakes hold together, also dilute the sweet, delicate flavor of crab meat, leading to crab cakes that can taste like generic patties instead of their star ingredient. But crab cakes still need a binder, and to create a delicate crab cake that's light on fillers but still holds together, they look to shrimp.

Former chef Lan Lam explains that when she had to prepare mousseline, a seafood mousse, she would purée fish and cream together, resulting in a sticky glue-like substance. It then occurred to her to use a shrimp mousseline in crab cakes instead of traditional fillers, a substitution that would intensify the crab's flavor instead of diluting it. The outlet recommends preparing a super-simple shrimp mousseline using four ounces of deveined shrimp and a quarter cup of heavy cream, then folding the mix into seasoned lump crabmeat. After the crab cakes are shaped and have chilled for 30 minutes, they're coated in panko, then pan-fried. These double-seafood crab cakes just might be the crabbiest you've ever tasted.