Pre-made crabcakes give you all the benefits of this seafood delight, with none of the messy mixing of binders, fillers and meat. Bake or saute them for a quick appetizer or lay them over salad greens for a complete meal.
Before committing to pre-made cakes, though, make sure you have quality specimens. Even if the cakes are frozen, make sure they are made with a significant amount of fresh crabmeat. Cakes made with canned seafood, which are more breadcrumb and filler than crab, smell and taste fishy and pasty. If you make them yourself , use quality ingredients and only the freshest meat you can find. Otherwise, expect to pay a premium price for pre-made crabcakes at specialty stores, fish markets or restaurants.
Depending on where you get your crabcakes, they'll either be fresh or frozen. The procedures for cooking either type are the same, but frozen cakes need just a little extra time to get to full temperature.
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The Crispiest Cakes
For the crispiest crabcakes, heat a saute pan over low heat. Melt butter in the pan and then add the fresh or frozen cakes. Saute frozen cakes for about 7 minutes per side, or until gently browned and cooked through. Unfrozen cakes need just about 3 minutes per side, depending on the cakes' thickness. Dense cakes that are more than an inch high may need a little more cooking time. Sauteing the cakes in the butter re-crisps the breadcrumb coating, creating a crunchy outer layer around the soft interior.
Alternatively, fry the cakes in about 1/2 inch of 375-degree Fahrenheit vegetable oil for a crispy coating. It'll take fresh crabcakes just a minute or 2 and frozen ones about 3 minutes per side to turn brown and cook completely through.
Crabcakes should reach an internal temperature of 145 to 160 degrees F before you eat them.
Drain on a paper towel before serving.
The oven is the easiest way to heat up pre-made crabcakes. Preheat the oven to 400 F and lightly grease a baking pan with cooking spray or a brush of oil. Place the frozen or fresh cakes on the pan and slip into the oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until browned, sizzling slightly and cooked through.
Add extra crunch to baked crabcakes by running them under the broiler for a minute or 2 per side after you've baked as per the recommendations.
Crabcakes go well with a creamy sauce, such as a homemade tartar or remoulade. The sweetness and texture of crabcakes also make for a tasty addition to a salad that includes a citrusy dressing and plenty of bitter greens. If you're looking for lighter fare, serve the cakes with a spicy corn salsa.
Even inexpensive supermarket crabcakes can be cooked with the same sauteing, frying or oven method. They'll definitely benefit from added sauce or salsa to perk up their flavor.