The Secret Ingredient Geoffrey Zakarian Adds To His Crab Cakes

When summertime rolls around, so does the sweltering heat and humidity. That means it's time to say goodbye to hot stews and heavy casseroles, and make way for fresh vegetables, cold salads, light dressings, and fruity galettes. While there are so many iconic summer dishes to enjoy, crab cakes, literally, take the cake. Chunks of sweet crab meat, breaded and fried, dunked in a creamy sauce — what's not to love? There are so many delicious sides to serve with this quintessential summer recipe, whether it's a fresh corn salad, grilled vegetables, or roast potatoes. As for the dipping sauce? The world is also your oyster. Pair your crispy seafood patties with classic tartar or remoulade sauce.

In addition to the variety of sauces and side dishes that pair with this summer staple, you can also introduce new seasonings and flavors to reinvigorate and play with a classic Maryland crab cake. As for celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian, he has his own zesty ingredient he likes to add to take the spice levels of his crab cakes up a notch (via InsideHook).

Sriracha can help your crab cakes pack a punch

When it comes to summer seafood, New England native Geoffrey Zakarian believes that the humble crab cake is on par with the lobster roll, according to InsideHook. While Zakarian throws a lot of ingredients into his crab cake blend (including mayonnaise, egg, breadcrumbs, and scallions), he believes that crab cakes are defined by two main factors: the quality of the crab and the potency of the flavor.

To prevent his crab cakes from tasting bland, Zakarian relies on one secret ingredient: Sriracha. "I think good crab cakes are packed with a little kick and I've found that Sriracha holds its own against Old Bay," Zakarian told Inside Hook. To pair with his crab cakes that pack a punch, Zakarian likes to whip up an aioli. He said, "The pepper adds a tasty kick while being a cooling addition to a warm crab cake." 

Zakarian is not the only one who enjoys this Thai hot sauce. Featuring ingredients such as chiles, sugar, salt, garlic, and distilled vinegar, Huy Fong-brand Sriracha (also called "rooster sauce" because of its iconic packaging) has captured the hearts and taste buds of millions around the globe (via Taste of Home). This versatile ingredient can amp up the flavors in a variety of recipes, including mild soups, salsas, eggs, grilled cheeses, and ... crab cakes.