These easy crab cakes with fennel cream follow a typical Maryland crab cake recipe but with the addition of a delicious fennel cream sauce.
Since we live in Baltimore, we’re always game for a good crab cake. We love to get them at Faidley’s in Lexington Market when we take our shoes to be cobbled. Since I had fennel, I wanted to add a bit of additional oomph to these cakes with a simple, creamy sauce.
The fennel cream works so well in this incredible crab cakes with fennel cream recipe. It’s aromatic and works perfectly with the crab cakes.
If you’ve never made crab cakes before, be sure not to over-mix the crab mixture! You want to see big beautiful pieces of the jumbo lump crab meat. Over-mixing it will cause the crab meat to break down, and you don’t want that! If you don’t have breadcrumbs, you can use crushed saltines as your filler! Just make sure not to add too much. The goal with this recipe is as little filler as possible since you really want to taste and see the crab meat!
Broiling the fennel and shallots until they char will add a really amazing flavor to the fennel cream in this recipe. Be sure to continue broiling until the fennel and shallot are both charred.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy crab meat? Is it in Maryland crab cakes, like this recipe? Or do you like it in soup? I have lots of crab recipes in my archives, so if you’re Looking for more crab recipes, check my archives!
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Easy Crab Cakes with Fennel Cream
- 1 fennel bulb cored and sliced into wedges, fronds reserved
- 2 shallots peeled and quartered
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup cream plus more if needed
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons garlic confit or 3 cloves fresh garlic
- 1 tablespoon oil from the garlic confit or 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound lump crab meat picked over to remove any shells
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
- 1 teaspoon cayenne powder plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon paprika plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons freshly minced parsley plus more for garnish
- 1 and 1/4 cup panko crushed saltines, or breadcrumbs
- 1 lemon sliced into thin rounds
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Old Bay seasoning to taste
Prepare the Fennel Cream:
- Turn the broiler on. On a lined baking sheet, arrange the fennel bulb and shallots and drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil. Transfer to the broiler for 5-7 minutes, checking regularly, until the shallot and fennel are well charred.
- Transfer the charred shallot and fennel to a food processor and pulse until well chopped.
- Add the cream, Dijon, garlic confit, garlic confit oil, and salt and pepper. Pulse until well-puréed, adding more cream as necessary until a smooth texture is reached. You may need upwards of 1/2 cup or more cream, depending on how big your fennel bulb is. The mixture shouldn’t be too thick or too runny.
- Strain the fennel cream through a fine-mesh sieve into a saucepan and discard the solids. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm, stirring occasionally, until ready to serve.
Prepare the Crab Cakes:
- Preheat oven to 450ºF.
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg, mayonnaise, Dijon, Worcestershire, cayenne powder, and paprika. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, carefully combine the crab, parsley, and panko. Season with salt, pepper, cayenne, and Old Bay, if using, Add the breadcrumbs and fold in the mayonnaise mixture. Note: Do not over-combine the crab cakes. You want to see large pieces of the lump crab meat. You want to fold the ingredients together enough so that they can be formed into crab cakes but not so much that the crab loses its texture.
- Form the crab cakes into palm-sized balls, do not press them into patties. Use both hands to compress the ingredients.
- Transfer the crab cakes to a greased baking sheet and arrange the lemon rounds around the cakes.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter and season with the cayenne powder.
- Right before baking the crab cakes, drizzle or brush the butter over each crab cake. Transfer to the oven for 12-14 minutes.
Broil the Crab Cakes:
- After the crab cakes have baked, transfer to the broiler for 3-5 minutes or until the tops turn golden brown and the lemon slices are fully charred. Remove from the broiler.
- On each plate, spoon a tablespoon of the fennel cream and use the back of the spoon to spread it across the plate. Place 1 or 2 lemon rounds on top of the fennel cream and finish the dish with a crab cake on top of the lemon rounds. Garnish with fennel fronds and more minced parsley. Enjoy!