A No-Fuss Meal for the Whole Family
The recipes for crab cakes and fries that follow are easy to make, and they're so tasty that even fussy children will love them. The crab patties require about 20 minutes of prep time and at least one hour to chill. While they're chilling, you can too—on the deck or on the couch.
About 30 minutes prior to dinnertime, begin baking (or frying) the cold crab cakes and fries. If you intend to make the easy BBQ shrimp bake recipe below as well, it also takes about 30 minutes to bake.
Recipe 1. Crab Cakes
Crab cakes taste great alone or on a bun. If you're making sandwiches, potato rolls or King's Hawaiian rolls go particularly well with the naturally sweet taste of crab. Use crushed potato chips for saltier cakes (children seem to love those best).
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 red or green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1 cup crushed potato chips, saltines or breadcrumbs
- 2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 tsp. Worcestshire Sauce
- 1/4 tsp. Tabasco
- 1/4 tsp. hot dry mustard
- 1 lb. lump crab meat
- 1 scant cup mayonaise
- 1 egg, beaten
- Chop the onion and pepper. Sauté about 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining ingredients. Mix gently to combine well.
- Using a rounded 1/4 cup measure, scoop up the crab mixture and transfer it onto a jelly roll pan lined with wax paper. No need to press down on the rounded patties! They'll "relax" a bit on their own. If you don't have a round measuring scoop, use an ice cream scoop. It works just as well.
- Place the patties on a baking sheet.
- Cover the cakes with plastic wrap and chill them for at least 1 hour.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until browned. If you'd like your crab cakes crustier, broil them for an additional 5 minutes.
Photo Guide: Crab Cakes
Hold the Shells, Please!
Of course, you don't have to pick your own crab meat from the shell. You can easily buy crab online or in the seafood department of your local grocery store. But be careful! Even professionally picked and packaged crab meat may contain bits of shell. Before using it, be sure pick through it and remove any fragments.
House Rules for Dealing With Broken Crab Cake Patties
Sometimes, particularly if you fry crab cake patties, they'll break apart as they cook. When this happens, there's only one solution: the cook has to eat the broken pieces! (Isn't that a shame?)
Recipe 2. Cheaters' Old Bay Steak Fries
Thanks to frozen fries, this side dish takes about 25 minutes from start to finish.
- Old Bay seasoning
- Cooking spray or olive oil
- Frozen steak fries
- Heat oven according to directions on bag of fries.
- Empty bag onto a jelly roll pan and spray the fries lightly with cooking spray. If you don't have cooking spray, drizzle them with olive oil. Then sprinkle liberally with Old Bay seasoning.
- Bake according to package directions.
Recipe 3. Handmade Steak Fries
If time allows, why not make fries the old-fashioned way? Homemade steak fries may not be as uniform in appearance as frozen store-bought fries (especially if you slice them by hand), but they sure do taste good!
- 6-8 baking potatoes (well scrubbed)
- Olive oil
- Butter (optional)
- Old Bay seasoning
- First, scrub the potatoes well or peel them. Then slice them into wedges.
- Place the wedges in a large bowl and cover them with hot water. Soak for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the oven to 425 degrees Farhenheit.
- Drain the potatoes and dry them well with paper towels. (If they're wet, they won't brown.)
- Grease a jelly roll pan with olive oil or a combination of olive oil and butter.
- Toss the potato wedges in olive oil, and then spread them in the pan in a single layer.
- Sprinkle generously with Old Bay seasoning.
- Bake 30 to 45 minutes, turning once.
My grandmother always said that no matter what, everyone is bound to eat a pound of dirt before they die. That may be true, but why try? Scrub those taters clean with a stiff bristle brush or, better yet, peel them before baking.
Why Use Jelly Roll Pans for Fries, Cookies, and More?
Jelly roll pans have very short sides that keep fries, cookies, and other baked goods from sliding off into the oven or onto the floor. Dark-colored pans heat up more quickly than light ones, and they retain their heat longer.
Recipe 4. Easy BBQ Shrimp Bake
Fries aren't the only good accompaniment to crab cakes. Hush puppies, potato chips, cole slaw, and locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables also make perfect side dishes.
For a tasty seafood side, try the easy BBQ shrimp bake recipe below. This spicy seafood dish is even easier to make than crab cakes!
And like the crab cakes above, this BBQ shrimp bake takes approximately 30 minutes to cook.
It will serve four as an entrée or eight as a side dish. And if you're expecting a larger crowd, this recipe is easy to double.
To make clean-up quick, line the baking pan with aluminum foil or use a disposable foil baking pan. You'll also need the following ingredients.
- 2 lbs. large shrimp, unpeeled
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 1/2 cup catsup
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp. thyme
- 1/2 tsp. rosemary
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed and diced
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees F and rinse the shrimp well, allowing it to drain.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a microwavable bowl. Then add the remaining ingredients and stir.
- Finally, add the shrimp, turning to coat. Spread the shrimp mixture into a baking pan and cook about 30 minutes, stirring every 10.
A Hint About Juicing Lemons
Before cutting lemons, roll them against your kitchen countertop, pressing down to soften them. When you do slice them open, they'll be juicy--and perfect for use in recipes such as this one.
The Best Way to Smash Garlic
Garlic invariably gets stuck down inside garlic press. And presses are hard to clean, too. That's why I simply use a knife to peel and smash garlic cloves. It's easy! Just rest the flat side of the knife against the clove and then hit it in one sharp blow with the heel of your hand. The peel will slide right off. And the clove? It'll be good and smashed!