Mini Crab Cakes

After making the crab rangoon last week, I had leftover crabmeat, and given how much I’d spent on it, the last thing I wanted was for it to go to waste. The only problem was that I didn’t have a ton of crab (about 5 oz), and trying to find a recipe that called for so little AND would feed both Shane and I for dinner was a challenge. Fortunately, I stumbled upon these mini crab cakes, which ended up working perfectly. It doesn’t hurt that they’re cute too, I have a soft spot for minis :) As written, the original recipe called for only 6 oz of crab meat, but many of the reviewers mentioned using more, so I upped the total to 10 oz. And yes, I also did that in large part because I wanted to halve the recipe and use all of my crab, but hey, it worked!

crab

We really enjoyed these little bites. They have a crisp panko crust on the bottom as well as on the top, and sandwiched in the middle is the creamy crab mixture. That combination of textures was one of my favorite things about the crab cakes. I love that they’re baked too, as I often find frying traditional crab cakes messy and time consuming. Another nice thing about this recipe is that you can bake the crab cakes up to 2 hours ahead and then reheat them briefly before you serve, which makes the recipe ideal for entertaining. I did have a little bit of trouble removing the crab cakes from the pan (despite using a nonstick pan and spraying it with cooking spray) but overall, a relatively minor complaint. We will absolutely be making these again!

Mini Crab Cakes
adapted from Bon Appetit, April 2009 (via Epicurious)

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 large egg
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, divided
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch cayenne pepper
10 oz fresh lump crabmeat, patted dry and coarsely shredded
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

In a medium bowl, whisk the cream cheese vigorously until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of the Parmesan and the egg and whisk until well combined. Beat in the sour cream, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon chopped chives, kosher salt and cayenne pepper. Gently fold in the crabmeat with a rubber spatula. (You can make the filling 1 day ahead, cover and store in the refrigerator.)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a mini muffin pan with 24 wells (or 2 pans with 12 wells) with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the panko, remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan and remaining 2 tablespoons chopped chives in a medium bowl. Add the butter and toss until evenly moistened. Spoon 1 generous teaspoon of the panko mixture into the bottom of each well of the muffin tin. Press to form a crust. Top each crust with 1 generous tablespoon of the crab mixture. Finally, sprinkle the top of each with 1 teaspoon of the panko mixture (the bites will slightly overflow the tops of the wells, that’s fine).

Bake the crab cakes for about 30 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the filling is set. Transfer muffin pan to a wire rack and let cool for about 3 minutes then run a knife around each cake and gently lift out of the pan. Sprinkle with additional chives for garnish, if desired.

(Note: You can bake the crab cakes 2 hours ahead. Let them stand at room temperature and then right before serving, reheat in a 350 F oven for 6-8 minutes.)

Makes 24