It seems Martha Stewartish to make mayonnaise by hand, but when it goes in both the crab cakes and the tartar sauce, it's what makes this the Best. Ever. Recipe.


  • Mayonnaise
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 2 tsps dijon mustard
    • 1 cup neutral oil, like grapeseed, corn, or extra virgin olive oil
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • Crab Cakes
    • 1 lb lump crabmeat, picked over for cartilage
    • 1 egg
    • ¼ cup chopped red bell pepper
    • ½ cup chopped scallion
    • ¼ cup mayonnaise
    • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
    • salt and black pepper, to taste
    • 2 tbsps bread crumbs
  • Dredging Flour
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
    • 1 tbsp curry powder, or more
    • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsps peanut oil
  • 2 tbsps butter
  • Tartar Sauce
    • mayonnaise
    • sweet pickles
    • capers
  • lemon wedges


1. Mayonnaise: Put the yolk and mustard in a medium bowl. Beat together with a wire whisk. Begin to add the oil in dribbles as you beat, adding more as each amount is incorporated. You'll notice when a thick emulsion forms, then you can add the remaining oil a little faster. Depending on how fast you beat, the whole process will take about 5 minutes.

Add salt and pepper, then stir in the vinegar. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Use immediately or refrigerate for about a week.
2. Crab Cakes: Mix together the crabmeat, egg, bell pepper, scallion, mayonnaise, mustard, and some salt and pepper. Add enough bread crumbs to bind the mixture just enough to form into cakes; start with 2 tablespoons per pound of crabmeat, and use more if you need it.

Refrigerate the mixture until you're ready to cook (it will be easier to shape if you refrigerate it for 30 minutes or more, but it's ready to go when you finish mixing).
3. Tartar Sauce: Chop up sweet pickles and capers to make about 3-4 tablespoons. Put it in the remaining mayonnaise.
4. Cooking: Season the flour with salt, pepper and curry powder. Heat a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium-high heat for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the oil and butter and heat until the butter foam subsides. Shape the crabmeat mixture into 1-inch-thick cakes, dredge each in the flour, and cook, adjusting the heat as necessary and turning once (very gently), until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.

Serve the crab cakes with lemon wedges and the tartar sauce.


Other seafood you can use: lobster.


American, American Classics, Fish and Seafood, Seafood


Mark Bittman


4 servings




North American : United States : Northeastern