Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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August 08, 2009

Crab Cakes

By Worker Bee
302 Comments

Note from Mark: You’re on board with the challenge, but what should you eat? No worries. The Worker Bees and I have you covered. Every Saturday and Sunday during the 30-day challenge we’ll be bringing you some delicious Primal recipes. (Sorry, no Weekend Link Love for the next few weeks!) Enjoy!

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There are certain foods that people have very strong opinions about. Often, these opinions are regionally based. If you’ve ever been stuck in the middle of an argument about New York vs Chicago pizza, you know how heated the debate can get. Crab cakes also elicit a strong emotional response. Some cooks swear by Old Bay Seasoning, others use paprika. Some cooks add red pepper, others think it’s sacrilegious to use anything more than diced celery. But across the board, one ingredient seems to remains the same: breadcrumbs. You have to add breadcrumbs to crab cakes to bind them together. Or do you? Questioning these sort of food fallacies is a common practice for modern day Groks. Yes, breadcrumbs hold crab cakes together, but the main reason they’re in crab cakes is to act as filler, so restaurants don’t have to put as much crab in your cake. Making a perfectly delicious crab cake bound together solely by egg yolks is easy to do.

First, let’s talk about fresh crab. You can buy whole crabs, but already picked meat is both easier and usually not much more expensive. Some stores also sell packaged wild-caught crab meat that is pasteurized and refrigerated and slightly less expensive. (this is much different than imitation crab, which should be avoided at all costs). For crab cakes, Dungeness Crab is the most sustainable choice and Blue Crab is a good alternative. Lump meat is the bigger chunks from the body of the crab, often lighter in color with a richer texture. It’s considered the premium part of the crab and you’ll pay premium prices for it. Claw meat has more of a shredded texture – it’s less pretty, but can also be more flavorful (and it often sells for half the price of lump meat.) This recipe uses a combination of the two, for texture and flavor.

Ingredients:

1 pound crab meat, combination of lump and claw
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot or onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
1 teaspoon lemon zest (grated off the outside of a lemon)
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/3 cup olive oil

Directions:

Bundle the crab in a thin dishtowel and give it a few hard squeezes to release moisture. You’ll probably be able to get a couple tablespoons of liquid to drip out.

Whisk the egg yolks. Add the shallot, celery, dill, lemon zest, hot sauce and paprika. Gently mix this into the crab. The mixture is not going to look like it will hold together, but don’t worry.

To form the crab cakes all you need is a round cookie cutter about 2 inches wide. Using a tablespoon measurement, scoop 2 generous tablespoons of crab into the cookie cutter.

Press the crab down very firmly with your fingers. Gently lift the cookie cutter.

Using this method, you should be able to make at least a dozen crab cakes. Cover the cakes and refrigerate for one hour or more. This helps the ingredients bind together.

Preheat your oven to 375. On the stovetop, heat the olive oil in a pan. When the oil starts to sizzle, use a spatula to slide the crab cakes into the pan. Cook about 2-3 minutes on each side until they are browned and crispy. Don’t put too many in the pan at once.

Use a spatula to scoop the cakes out the pan and onto a cookie sheet. Put in the oven for another six minutes to make sure they are warmed through the middle. Garnish with dill.

The most important steps in this recipe are using the cookie cutter to shape the crab cakes and refrigerating them for at least an hour before cooking. Other than that, let your regional tastes take over. Add red pepper if you like or mustard. Play around with the seasonings. But forget all about the breadcrumbs. You won’t even miss them.

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302 Comments on "Crab Cakes"

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Mike Gruber
Mike Gruber
7 years 1 month ago

Looks like right now that shirt is MINE.

PrimalJewishAmericanPrincess
PrimalJewishAmericanPrincess
7 years 1 month ago

I had chicken on the grill in mind for dinner. This changes EVERYTHING. Thanks Mark!

jeff
jeff
7 years 1 month ago

being in maryland im well aware of the argument u speak of. this will blow some peoples mind. cant wait to try it. thanks.

Covo
7 years 1 month ago

Hey Mark, I think you should definitely do a Primal Recipes Book. I’m pretty basic and usually don’t get beyond grilling or frying some meat with veggies and the sort, but all this encourages me to actually get creative and think (one of the rules right? use the brain!) and realize that there is much more variety of flavors and food choices when cooking Primal stuff rather than the old rice/pasta plus what-have-you that is styled so much in Europe. Grok on and keep the good work!

primalmom
7 years 1 month ago

oh yum !!!!

Luke
Luke
7 years 1 month ago

I have to eat in a military chow hall. I don’t think that I can get those ingredients in the salad line. I will live vicariously through you all.

Kate
Kate
7 years 1 month ago

Those look incredibly delicious, even at 10:30 am.

lbd
lbd
7 years 1 month ago

I’m a Maryland native as well. I have never used breadcrumbs in mine, but Old Bay is a must in this part of the country. No celery. Mustard is a plus, even a little mayo. And Blue Crab. The egg holds everything together nicely. And, finally, fried not broiled is my favorite. Not sure why so many restaurants insist on broiling the things these days – probably the whole low fat mentality. These make me hungry just looking at them and I just made crabcakes this week!

Dan Morgan
Dan Morgan
7 years 1 month ago

Might just have to try these out!

Ryan
Ryan
7 years 1 month ago

I agree with Covo, a Primal Recipe Book would be great. Im a CrossFit Trainer and Im always trying to get my clients to go Primal, but among the myriad of excuses, not knowing what to cook is one of the more common ones. A recipe book would be an easy way to nix that excuse.

BrianTheCaveman
BrianTheCaveman
7 years 1 month ago

Mmmmm….I love crabcakes. Possibly one of the few meals I would use as my “cheat”. Now it looks like I don’t have to!

Jeff
Jeff
7 years 1 month ago

Here in the Northwest with Dungeness crabs so abundant, this will be a great recipe to have on hand, especially if I’m able to go out and trap the crabs myself.

Jan
Jan
7 years 1 month ago

Crab cakes are one of my favorite things. Always had to try them at any restaurant that served them. Will definitely try this recipe. Another favorite is minastrone soup. any primal recipe for that?

BarbeyGirl
7 years 1 month ago

Awesome. Those look fantastic. (Almost as good as I’ll look in that shirt!) 😉

juno61
juno61
7 years 1 month ago

I’ll have to try these.

Halo
7 years 1 month ago

Looks scary, I’ve never eaten crab in my life (I’d try though)!

Doug Van Cleve
Doug Van Cleve
7 years 1 month ago

My wife won’t eat anything that lives in water (maybe hydroponic veggies ;^) These seems like something I could make (and eat) by myself… Doug

KevinC
KevinC
7 years 1 month ago

I make similar cakes with canned tuna. Works when you cant get the fresh stuff.

Jeffrey K
Jeffrey K
7 years 1 month ago

Canned salmon works well too.

joshua76
joshua76
7 years 1 month ago

i’ve never been a big seafood fan, but this post made me hungry for some! looks really good.

sarahbb
7 years 1 month ago

More crab…less bread…sounds better than the standard crab cakes I’ve grown to love!

Michael - Fat Loss Reviews
7 years 1 month ago

WOW… that is some serious food art for the ingredients picture. Very nice!

amandamarie
amandamarie
7 years 1 month ago

Sounds tasty!

Tanya
Tanya
7 years 1 month ago

Ohhh…. now I am really hungry. I don’t think these would make an appealing breakfast though. Hmmm, maybe lunch!

Christian Chun
Christian Chun
7 years 1 month ago

This sounds awesome… haven’t had crab cakes in a while… This should be good with a nice homemade tartar sauce:

1 tablespoon greek yogurt
1 tablespoon mayo
1 scallion, finely chopped
1/8 cup finely chopped sour pickles

curtis c
curtis c
7 years 1 month ago

this will be perfect.I just found an asian market that has live blue crab.

Anne
Anne
7 years 1 month ago

I grew up in Baltimore and I love crab cakes. Recently,I have made similar crab cakes without the breadcrumbs and it works great. I agree with Ibd – Old Bay is a must.

Mike H.
Mike H.
7 years 1 month ago

Mouth watering photos! This looks like a perfect summertime dish. I look forward to seeing more, and trying them too!

Jim mcbride
Jim mcbride
7 years 1 month ago

not a huge fan of crab meat… but i’ll give it a shot.

Primaleater
Primaleater
7 years 1 month ago

These look yummy! I’ll definitely be using this recipe to get rid of a lot of the canned crab meat that’s been sitting in my pantry!!

justin
7 years 1 month ago

Man those look tasty. I’ve never tried crab cakes (too much planning required – me lazy!), but I might have to try it out!

Ted
7 years 1 month ago

Mmmm, cakes!

void_provocateur
void_provocateur
7 years 1 month ago

Dear Lord that looks delicious. I think I shall try that tomorrow.

pattyst
pattyst
7 years 1 month ago

mmmm…. I’ll take mine with dungeness!

Nicola M
Nicola M
7 years 1 month ago

That looks amazing, I love Crab Cakes! I just grabbed 2 eggs from my Rhody Reds…Nothing like eggs from my backyard with this cious recipe! Grok On 🙂

Roger De Rok
7 years 1 month ago

What’s the easiest way to separate the egg yolks from the whites?

Jeffrey K
Jeffrey K
7 years 1 month ago

I just break the egg in my hand over a bowl (just crunch the shell with your fingertips). The whites will run off your hand, between your fingers, and the shell & the yolk will remain in your palm. Learned that in a cooking class, and it feels kinda Primal too 🙂

Jeremy
Jeremy
7 years 1 month ago

I wonder what kind of crab fisherman Grok was?

Jordan O.
Jordan O.
7 years 1 month ago

looks good! I love finding ways to make “old favorites” healthier!

Robert Gioia
Robert Gioia
7 years 1 month ago

Those look amazing! Going to have to try it out.

Jordan O.
Jordan O.
7 years 1 month ago

Yum! I love finding new healthier ways of making old favorites!

GeriMorgan
7 years 1 month ago

Ooooh, this sounds awesome. I’mma have to see if I can get ahold of some crabs, maybe around my birthday.

Rich de Rossi
7 years 1 month ago

I’m allergic to crabs so I should get a t-shirt instead!

BretMattingly
7 years 1 month ago

I’m totally going to make this tonight. I’m also commenting on this, so I totally should win a shirt. 🙂

jpippenger
7 years 1 month ago

I will be very crabby if I don’t win that shirt.

suzbuff
7 years 1 month ago

YUM!

Matt
Matt
7 years 1 month ago

I’ve wanted a shirt for a while now…

James B
James B
7 years 1 month ago

Hmm if only I could eat crab!! Might give this a go with tuna.

Roger: if you want to get the yolk on its own just pass it between the two “cups” of shell to drain the white off.

Dangeruss
Dangeruss
7 years 1 month ago

Not a big fan of Crab cakes, but I will definitely have to try these at some point.

stevecooksey
7 years 1 month ago

Mark, I love crab cakes but have stayed away since Feb…tonight we will be reacquainted.

Thanks!

Steve

Linda
Linda
7 years 1 month ago

OMG, these look fantastic. I will definitely be giving this recipe a try. Thanks, Mark and Worker Bees, for giving us new recipes to keep us happy and PRIMAL.

Ben Owen
Ben Owen
7 years 1 month ago

I REALLY want a “Grok On!” T-Shirt. Also, the crab cakes look great. The wife and I are going to try them out.

Getsome
Getsome
7 years 1 month ago

This looks great. I’d suggest pairing this with Primal remoulade sauce. 1/2 cup of olive oil mayonnaise, 1/2 tsp of dry mustard, 1/4 teaspoon of old bay, and a teaspoon of fresh garlic. Grok on!

Stacee
Stacee
7 years 1 month ago

thanks, that sounds awesome!

sax
sax
7 years 1 month ago

i like crab cakes.

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