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Jan 28, 2013 07:05 AM

Help! Low Carb Crab Cakes - gummy?

I am posting on behalf of a good friend. The poor fella was so excited to make crab cakes and bought a lovely lb of lump crab meat. He keeps a very strict low carb diet and while I have a delicious low carb recipe he decided to go with this He broiled for 12 minutes (longer than the suggested time in the recipe) and met a gooey crab mess. While he's not so big on details and perhaps a different recipe might be better given that this one excludes many things that I think are essential to a good crab cake (including Old Bay and dry mustard), but recipe choice aside I thought there might be a few simple tips to help him get a better result with the remaining cakes. Should he just broil longer? Would you advise baking instead of broiling?

Note: I assume he followed the recipe although he did call to ask mid-cooking "do you beat the egg?" so he doesn't have the most elevated cooking skills but he's trying and I'd like to help.

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  1. He would have been better off deep frying that recipe - or suckin' it up and using a paltry amount of breadcrumbs. That recipe was pretty much doomed from the start.

    9 Replies
    1. re: MGZ

      Well, my thoughts exactly. When he sent me the recipe, my immediate reaction was like "why?" Of all the recipes, that does not seem like a good one but as someone who rarely cooks I'm not sure that he could discern that. I make a crab cake with barely any filler aside from 1/2 sleeve of Ritz crackers, egg and some mayo.

      1. re: fldhkybnva

        Sometimes there's just no way to substitute starch ingredients for low-carb ones. Especially when it comes to cakes- savory or sweet.

        He'd have been better off using the crab meat to stuff some fish or make an "oscar" fillet mignon. No starch required to make either of those. If he finds a recipe he misses, he might do better if he just looks for tried and true recipes with the key ingredient he has a taste for, but doesn't use any carbs (or minimal whole grain). It's difficult to swap or omit starch ingredients from recipes, most of the time it's not worth it.

        1. re: alkonost

          Yea, agree for the most part. I am also a fairly low carb person out of preference and my crab cakes usually have 1/3-1/2 a sleeve of crackers which when divided among the servings is barely anything so perhaps he's been amenable to that.

      2. re: MGZ

        i eat low-carb and make fish cakes without starch.

        however, i use full-fat mayo and butter, as well as the egg. form into patties and chill them before cooking. this way they hold together just fine and are delicious.

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          Yea, I recommended to him for next time to chill them. I think he just threw them together right before baking. For my low carb crab cakes, a good chill helps keep them together.

            1. re: MGZ

              I agree ...chilling is a must

            1. re: MGZ

              lol, no it ain't. but i have done this with crab too. the chilled butter and full-fat mayo do the binding.

        2. A very good substitute for the crumbs is to use raw shrimp, either finely chopped or pureed. Hold together very well and the shrimp adds a delicious flavor. (can use scallops instead of shrimp too).

          3 Replies
          1. re: ElsieB

            This was going to be my suggestion. A puree of scallops or shrimp, along with a little mayo and egg, makes a great binder. This recipe was definitely doomed, especially with the light mayo. Ugh.

            BTW, if this guy really sticks to a STRICT low carb diet, then all the suggestions to add a bread product of some kind are an absolute no-go. Even low-carb breads (which I would use if I weren't being super strict about my carb intake) are generally considered too carby for the induction level of most low-carb diets.

            1. re: biondanonima

              Hell, low carb is doomed, but that's a different thread. . . .

              Ground shrimp or scallops make a decent binder as does ground pork. We have a favorite Thai crabcake recipe that is fifty-fifty crab and pork with a substantial amount of cilantro.

              1. re: biondanonima

                Ah, I didn't even notice the light mayo ingredient. This guy is a full fat lover of all things with fatty acids who I often have to remind that more butter/olive oil/bacon is not always better as he can go a little crazy so I imagine that he used regular mayo but I will check.

                Well, it's not STRICT but similar to me for most days we are pretty low carb but can stretch a few 10s of grams a day or two throughout the week.

            2. The problem was not with the skill, but the recipe. It is only gooey stuff. I would cut the mayo and add in some low carb homemade breadcrumbs into the mix (like one slice for the whole thing) and then on the outside lightly coat with panko. Then panfry or broil (panfry yielding a crispier coating I think). It does not have to be really oily - just a spray of olive oil.

              He should also pick thru the crab really well. Even jarred crab they claim to be picked still can have some sizable shell in it.

              MGZ said to chill - that is an absolute must.

              1. You should definitely add a few slices of bread - made into bread crumbs - or crackers. I use the bread crumbs. And I would definitely not broil them, bake them or deep fry them. Pan frying in a little bit of butter is how I make them and they are wonderful. Tell your friend to give this a try -

                2 Replies
                1. re: Jeanne

                  i prefer this sort of thing pan-fried also. broiling is totes overkill.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    He could bake them and then if they are not crispy enough, give them a good (watched) zap with the broiler.