Pat Conroy’s Baby Crab Cakes


  • 1 pound lump crabmeat
  • 1 egg white, light beaten
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground hot red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons oil, cook’s preference, divided
  • Lemon wedges, optional


Move the crabmeat to a large bowl and pour the egg white over the crabmeat in a slow stream, stopping occasionally to mix. When the crabmeat has absorbed the egg and feels slightly sticky to the touch, sift the flour over the crabmeat. Sprinkle with chives, peppers, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir lightly from the bottom, but don’t overhand.

Separate the crabmeat into 16 caked by gently rolling each portion in a flattened palm. Gently press down to form the cake and move to a large plate. Sprinkle with remaining salt. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Melt half of the butter and half of the oil in a large skillet. Move 8 of the crab cakes to the hot fat and cook until a crust forms, about 2 minutes. Turn carefully with a thin metal or plastic spatula and cook another 2 minutes. Remove to a plate and cover loosely with foil. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel and melt the remaining butter and oil. Cook remaining crab cakes in the same fashion. Serve hot with optional lemon wedges.

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