A few years ago we got our first really big catering job. It wasn’t for hundreds of people but the customer wanted to impress and have high end food options. This was a super fun project for me because I got to go WAY off of the normal Old Cal Coffee menu. We served caprese kebabs, stuffed dates, personalized chocolate cheesecakes, custom shrimp with aioli, and the crowds favorite.. homemade Crab Cakes. This was my very first time making crab cakes and they were one of the few items the customer had specifically asked for. I knew there was a lot riding on them for meeting the customer’s expectations and I was determined to make the best crab cakes they had ever tasted (go big or go home, right?). But the determination paid off, everyone loved them! And I was asked to make them again for a recent catering job for the same customer. Only this time there was a new challenge … they needed them gluten free and dairy free!
For this post I thought it would be fun to share both my new gluten free recipe as well as the original recipe for you guys. Both turned out great and hopefully this post will find someone looking to cook outside the box.
Note: This customer was looking for dairy free, which meant it was still ok to use eggs. Eggs are used in cooking and baking mostly has a binder to hold the item together. That is why when you make cookies they stay in a convenient shape instead of crumbling all over. If you are looking to follow along with this recipe but can’t have eggs, ground flax seed makes a great replacement. We mix it with hot water. To make the equivalent of one egg mix one tablespoon of ground flax seed with 1/8 of a cup hot water.
The biggest challenge to making the crab cakes alternatively was replacing the bread and saltine crackers. I found a brand called Good Thins and used the “simply salt” flavor. They are kind of like a rice cracker but ended up being the perfect alternative for the saltine crackers.
For the bread crumbs I used the end pieces of a loaf of gluten free bread. This allows you to continue to use the rest of the loaf for sandwiches and prevents waste. I blended them up in the blender too, to make very fine bread crumbs.
- 2 large eggs, well beaten
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 1 cup crushed “Good Thins” gluten free crackers – (SALTINE CRACKERS FOR NORMAL RECIPE)
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon red hot pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley sprigs
- ½ cup finely chopped scallions
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound crab meat, lump preferred, shell and cartilage removed
- ½ cup finely ground fresh gluten free bread crumbs – or sourdough bread for normal recipe
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- In a large mixing bowl combine the eggs, celery, Good Thins (or saltines), mayonnaise, mustard, Old Bay Seasoning, pepper flakes, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, scallions, salt and pepper, and blend well. Add the crab meat, folding it in lightly without breaking it up.
- Divide the mixture into 12 equal portions. Shape them into little hamburger patties. Dredge them in the bread crumbs.
- Heat approximately 2 tablespoons of the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sauté the crab cakes 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown, using the remaining 2 tablespoons oil if necessary. Lay out paper towels to put finished crab cakes on and absorb excess oil.