Thursday, November 3, 2016

Cookbook Countdown: Crab Cakes

Another dinner from Time-Life Foods of the World American Cooking: Southern Style tonight. We had Crab Cakes (p35), with Tartar Sauce (p77), which is based on Mrs. Marston's Sauce Mahonaise (p75).

Crab cakes. My step-mother's sister (my step-aunt?) makes wonderful Maryland crab cakes. When we've visited, one of the highlights is helping to pick over the crab before she makes them. My Time-Life crab cakes were good, but not in the same category of good.

The crab cakes are made with mayo (I used yogurt), dry mustard, cayenne, Tabasco, salt , ground white pepper, chopped parsley, and crumbs. I used canned crabmeat since I haven't found packages of fresh meat like you can get in the US. I made little cakes, ending up with only seven instead of the projected eight. They were quite small, so maybe I didn't have enough crabmeat. These are chilled, then deep-fried in 3" of oil. (I had only about 1", but it seemed to work fine.)

The recipe suggests serving with Tartar Sauce. Before I could make that I needed to make Mrs. Marston's Sauce Mahonaise. If I'd had any mayo in house, I could have used that, but I've recently discovered that all the store-bought mayos which are easily available are based on canola oil (aka rapeseed oil). I've never been a big mayo fan, but have noticed lately that I like it even less. Even Hellman's tastes off to me. Canola oil is taking over. While we were visiting in the Netherlands I found sound Hellman's Olive Oil Mayo, but even that has canola oil as the first ingredient. Next time I'm at a health food store, I'll look for some without canola oil, but meanwhile we are mayo-less. Thus, Mrs. Marston's. Which started out quite well, turning into a very thick mayo. But I have trouble with the drop-by-drop addition of oil and it soon turned too thin and separated. So, as advised, I started with a new yolk and then added my separated mess. Same problem. When I had enough volume for the tartar sauce, I stopped making "mayo" and made the sauce. It then held together pretty well, and was very tasty. Unfortunately, I forgot to put a dollop on the plates for the pictures.

This tartar sauce wanted tarragon vinegar (which I thought I had, but didn't, so added white wine vinegar plus a pinch of tarragon leaves), dry mustard, cayenne, salt, chopped cornichons, chopped shallot, chopped chives, chopped parsley, and chopped capers, all mixed with the mayo. A very good tartar sauce.

Mrs. Marston's Sauce Mahonaise includes the yolk of a hard-boiled egg as well as raw egg yolks, plus dry mustard, a pinch of cayenne, and lemon juice or vinegar. One day I'll be able to make mayonnaise consistently, but this wasn't the day. The home-made stuff is so much better than anything out of a jar.

Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their November cookbook. Why don't you choose a cookbook from your shelf and join in?


  1. We love crab cakes, but not one that I make very often at home. I usually use frozen crab meat, as I don't think I like the job of flaking fresh meat from the crabs! :)

  2. That looks good! I finally found a mayo in our area without canola oil or another oil I don't like -- this mayo had avocado oil! Hope you find one you like soon.