Instead of being light and refreshing—what we crave this time of year—many crab cakes are heavy in calories, sodium, and saturated fat. Plus they’re often junked up with caloric and sodium-laden fillers and then deep-fried (a tasty technique, but the caramelizing powers of deep-frying overwhelm the delicate, sweet crab). Often there’s too much sauce, too. Here’s how we put this seasonal treat within nutritional reach. We lightly season sweet, premium crab and use just enough mayonnaise, low-sodium panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), and egg to bind it all together. We don’t add any salt to the mixture, to keep sodium in check. The cakes are cooked in a slick of oil instead of deep-fried. We love a good rémoulade but overhaul the condiment to add a flavor punch without as much sodium. Our version of crab cakes is ideal for the season: a vibrant and light dish that pairs perfectly with a crisp salad and glass of wine.
734 calories per serving
8.6 grams saturated fat
1,285 milligrams sodium
At least 1/4 cup oil absorbed in deep-frying
292 calories per serving
1.6 grams saturated fat
571 milligrams sodium
Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 Tablespoon oil for sautéing
Just enough rémoulade
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 crab cakes and 1 1/2 Tablespoons rémoulade)
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 Tablespoons canola-based mayonnaise (such as Spectrum brand)
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 large egg
1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 pound lump crabmeat, drained and shell pieces removed
1 Tablespoon olive oil, divided
1/4 cup canola-based mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon chopped shallots
1 1/2 Tablespoons capers, drained and chopped
2 teaspoons Creole mustard
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
To prepare crab cakes:
Combine first 8 ingredients.
Add panko and crab, tossing gently to combine.
Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Fill a 1/3-cup dry measuring cup with crab mixture.
Invert onto work surface; gently pat into a 3/4-inch-thick patty.
Repeat procedure with remaining crab mixture, forming 8 cakes.
Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add 4 crab cakes to pan; cook 4 minutes or until bottoms are golden.
Carefully turn cakes; cook 4 minutes or until bottoms are golden and crab cakes are thoroughly heated.
Remove cakes from pan; keep warm.
Wipe pan dry with paper towels.
Heat remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in pan.
Repeat procedure with remaining 4 crab cakes.
To prepare rémoulade:
Combine 1/4 cup mayonnaise and remaining ingredients in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.
Serve with crab cakes.