Blue Cheese Is The Powerful Ingredient That Amps Up Crab Cakes

Unless you live off Chesapeake Bay, crabs are a special occasion dish. They offer the perfect balance of buttery richness and an oceanic umami that's worth their high price, and crab cakes are one of the most delicious ways to stretch their luscious but limited morsels of meat into a comforting meal. Mild and creamy filler ingredients like eggs, mayonnaise, and crackers bolster a crab cake's structure and texture without upstaging the flavor of the meat. However, blue cheese is a powerful ingredient that will unexpectedly improve the taste and texture of crab cakes.

Blue cheeses come in numerous varieties, from Roquefort to Gorgonzola, but they're all aged to umami-rich perfection. Their pungent, funky, and salty flavor profiles complement the fishy, buttery umami notes that crab meat is known for. Blue cheese is creamy and crumbly, so it's easy to incorporate into crab cake batter. It's also a meltable cheese, so it'll combine with your binding agents to create an even creamier filler that will accentuate those delicately chewy chunks of crab meat.

You can incorporate blue cheese into your cakes by simply crumbling a portion into the batter and lightly mixing to combine. The cheese will melt and distribute as you fry the crab cakes. If you'd rather disperse the blue cheese flavor more evenly throughout your cakes, you can blend it in a food processor or blender with eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, and lemon juice and add the emulsified ingredients to the crab meat and bread crumbs.

Tips for the best blue cheese crab cakes

Blue cheese will amp up your crab cakes, but its powerful flavor warrants caution. You should take a "less is more" approach when adding blue cheese to your crab cake batter, using around a half-ounce for a three-inch diameter crab cake. You can opt for a milder blue cheese like Gorgonzola to gauge the flavor pairing. Ideally, the ratio of crab meat to filler should be as large as possible, so that the crab remains the star of the show and the blue cheese delivers that je ne se quois finish.

You can blend blue cheese with mayo, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce in a Maryland crab cake recipe. This gluten-free crab cake uses a wealth of crunchy aromatics and capers that'll add spice and tang to temper umami-rich crab and blue cheese while also adding a bit of crunch.  Folding the crabmeat into your batter and mixing as gently as possible is important for the integrity of the crab cake. If you over mix, you'll break the crabmeat down, ruining the lumpy, flaky, delicate nature of the finished product.

Because fillers, and therefore binding agents, are minimal in a crab cake, you can help maintain a unified structure by chilling the batter for half an hour or even overnight before forming and frying the cakes. Another measure to ensure that your crab cakes keep their form is to bake them at a high temperature, so they'll get crispy and light without flipping.