Tips on making crabcakes.

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If you ask 10 people for the best recipe for crabcakes, you’ll likely get 10 different answers.

One person I know uses the recipe on the can of Old Bay Seasoning — called a classic Maryland-style crabcake. It’s a mix of crab meat, mayo, mustard, Old Bay, an egg and parsley flakes.

Some recipes call for a few drops of hot red pepper sauce (Tabasco), Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, salt and pepper. To bind the cakes together, use an egg and mayonnaise, but mix these in a separate bowl and then add to the crabcake mixture.

Some recipes also call for dredging the crabcakes in breadcrumbs, cracker meal or panko before pan-frying or broiling.

What to serve with crabcakes is another issue. Some purists say crabcakes need no sauce or perhaps just some lemon wedges. Many recipes call for serving them with a Cajun rémoulade — just don’t make it too spicy. You don’t want the crab to compete with many other flavors.

Crabcakes are easy to make and great to have on hand when you need something quick and easy for dinner or an appetizer.

The best ones use good-size pieces of crab, so use lump crab if you can. Lump crab is the most expensive — about $16 for an 8-ounce container. Crab labeled “special” and claw meat is about $8 for an 8-ounce container. To cut cost, you can use a mix of all three.

To prepare ahead, make, shape and freeze the crabcakes without cooking. If you cook and then freeze them, they may get soggy.

Once you’ve mixed all the ingredients together, shape the crabcakes into desired size. Use an ice cream scoop to make dinner portion size crabcakes, about 3 ounces each. Shape the mixture gently and don’t press it. Crabcakes should be about a half-inch thick. To make small ones for appetizers, use small measuring cups or tablespoon measures.

Place crabcakes on a tray lined with parchment or wax paper and place in the freezer. Once frozen, put them in a freezer bag (label and date the bag) and store in the freezer. I prefer broiling crabcakes. You can pan-fry them, too, but use an oil like canola so it doesn’t compete with the crab flavor. Or for a richer flavor, pan-fry in clarified butter.

Crabcakes with Herb Sauce

Makes 8 servings

1 1/4 pounds lump crabmeat (or mix of lump, special and claw meat)

1 large egg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1/3 cup finely chopped red pepper, optional

1/2 to 1 cup cracker meal or plain panko breadcrumbs

Crabcake Sauce (see note)

1. Preheat the broiler.

2. Pat the crab meat dry and set it aside.

3. In large mixing bowl, mix together the egg, salt, pepper, Old Bay Seasoning, Dijon, mayonnaise, parsley and, if using, the red pepper. Fold in the crab meat, trying not to break up any of the chunks. Add cracker meal or panko crumbs. The mixture should be sticky but not too moist. Add additional cracker meal or panko crumbs as needed.

4. Shape the mixture into patties about 1/2-inch thick and about 3 inches in diameter.

5. Place on a broiler pan and broil about 6 inches from the heat element until just lightly browned on top, about 4 minutes. Turn over and broil on second side until lightly brown, and cooked through. Remove from the broiler and serve with the sauce.

Cook’s note: To make a simple sauce, mix 2 tablespoons minced favorite herb, 1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Season with a little sea salt and black pepper if desired.

From and tested by Susan Selasky in the Free Press Test Kitchen. Nutrition information not available.