Southern Crab Cakes with Spicy Dipping Sauce

While spending a glorious week on Tybee Island, near Savannah, I had the opportunity to go crabbing with some friends who had a very well-equipped fishing boat and the skill to navigate the little creeks around Savannah. Catching crabs in creeks and from a boat doesn’t require sophisticated fishing skills, just simple equipment, such as a weighted line, a long handle net, some bait and a low tide. Crabs are in the creeks at low tide, but when the tide begins to turn, they migrate back to the marshes.The waterways on the East coast of the United States are teeming with the Atlantic Blue Crab and once you taste the sweet and succulent meat of the Blue Crab, you’ll be hooked. The blue crab’s Latin name is Calinectes sapidus, which means “beautiful swimmer,” and indeed, they are a beautiful blue-green as you can see in the photo above.To cook the crab, you need a large pot filled to about halfway with water. Add some crab seasoning and lemon juice or vinegar and bring to a rolling boil. Crabs, like lobsters have to be alive when you put them in the boiling water, so discard any dead ones. Boil about 10 minutes or until the crabs turn red. Turn off the heat and let them sit for another 10 minutes. Drain, cool to touch and begin picking! It’ s a messy and time-consuming job, so get the whole family involved. For more info on picking crab, read this article. For more crab cake recipes, visit the CrabCakeGuy..Now for the Crab CakesRecipe From: The Gift of Southern Cooking by the late Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock1 pound jumbo-lump crab meat1 small onion, chopped (1/2 cup)4 scallions or green onions, thinly sliced (1/4 cup)1 cup fresh bread crumbs3/4 tsp salt1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper1/4 tsp cayenne pepperA few drops freshly squeezed lemon juice2 eggs, lightly beaten4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted1 cup all-purpose flour8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, meltedCarefully pick over the crab meat and remove any bits of cartilage and shell. Put the crab meat in a mixing bowl, and add the onions, scallion, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and lemon juice. Toss lightly but thoroughly to blend. Pour the eggs and melted butter into the crab meat, and mix until well-blended.Use a 1/3 cup measure to divide the crab into 8 portions. If there is any leftover, divide it evenly among the 8 portions. Shape crab portions into round cakes 1/2 inch thick and approximately 2 inches in diameter. Dredge each cake lightly in the flour and pat lightly on each side to remove excess flour.Heat the 8 tablespoons butter in a large skillet until hot and foaming. Put the crab cakes into the pan, leaving 1/2 inch between them. You may need to cook the cakes in batches. Cook over moderate heat for 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown all over. Remove the crab cakes from the pan and drain on paper towels. Serve crab cakes hot. Makes 8.Spicy Dipping Sauce1 1/2 cups cider vinegar1 tsp salt1/2 cup very thinly sliced green onions or scallions, including tender green1/2 cup finely chopped shallots3 cloves garlic, minced2 tsp coarsely cracked black peppercorns1/4 cup chopped parsleyPut the vinegar and salt in a nonreactive mixing bowl and stir until the salt is dissolved. Add the green onions, shallots, garlic, and cracked black peppercorns. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Stir in the chopped parsley and taste for seasoning, adding more salt if needed. Serve immediately.Note-If you don’t add the parsley, the dipping sauce will keep 5 days refrigerated. Add the parsley shortly before serving so that it doesn’t turn brown in the vinegar.Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Tybee Island on Dwellable



  1. Kelly Mahoney
    August 28, 2007 / 6:57 pm

    Your photos are great! What an interesting vacation hobby, I wish I had such a luxury. Your recipes are cool as well, I like the presentation.

  2. Deborah
    August 28, 2007 / 9:28 pm

    How fun! I would love to do that some day!

  3. Lynnylu
    August 28, 2007 / 10:00 pm

    Thanks, Kelly and Deborah for your comments. Also, thanks Kelly for your link on the mission. I have been to the Desert Museum and it’s really cool. Re: the crabbing-i hope to go again in a few weeks.

  4. Brilynn
    August 29, 2007 / 3:43 am

    Those have got me drooling! They sound absolutely fantastic! I love seafood.

  5. Meeta
    August 29, 2007 / 7:09 am

    I love crab cakes and this is such a fantastic recipe. It sounds like such a fin thing to do on a vacation!

  6. The Passionate Palate
    August 29, 2007 / 5:13 pm

    Making these crab cakes from scratch looks like a lot of work – but worth it!

  7. steph
    August 30, 2007 / 2:58 am

    oh, how i love crab (Better than lobster, i think), not to mention crabcakes! i’m very impressed you picked your own crab for cakes! i bet they were the best ever!

  8. Lynnylu
    September 7, 2007 / 12:18 am

    Brilynn, thanks-I adore seafood, too, especially when I know it is fresh.Meeta, it was loads of fin!Passionate Palate-it was work, but I had some help.Steph, I agree that crab is much better than lobster-so much sweeter.

  9. The Crab Cake Guy
    September 7, 2007 / 12:54 am

    Great post! I can’t wait to try out this recipe and feature it on my site. Check it out at we are exploring a variety of different crab cake recipes from across the country. Your recipe looks amazing, I can’t wait to test it out. Thanks again!The Crab Cake Guy

  10. Tartelette
    September 17, 2007 / 7:04 pm

    We live on the water and have a few crab traps….waiting for you to come get some as we are all crabbed out right now!! You were close to my neck of the woods (Charleston, SC). Looks like a wonderful time!

  11. Lynnylu
    September 22, 2007 / 7:23 pm

    Crab cake guy-thanks, hope you like this simple version of crab cakes. Love your blog!Tartelette-you definitely can get burned out catching and picking crabs especially when you are the only one who does the work. Somehow, everyone has something else going on. Nice to hear you are close. Charleston is my favorite city-the restaurants are top notch.

  12. Rituparna
    September 22, 2011 / 7:46 am

    This looks like a lot of fun. I am still waiting to try my hand at cooking crabs. This could help me begin. Thanks a lot for such a wonderful recipe & photographs.

  13. Anonymous
    April 22, 2013 / 9:37 pm

    Love the idea of serving the sauce in a shell!

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