Crab Cakes

Crabmeat adapts to a range of spices, from sesame seeds to chipotle, especially when shaped into savory cakes and then fried. A generous handful of cilantro—use the leaves and stems—keeps the patties tasting fresh, while a tiny dice of tender bread makes the texture delicate. The soft, rich bread in the center, along with the crab, gets a crunchy coating of panko bread crumbs. These were inspired by the fish kefte (like fish meatballs) of my childhood, the salt cod fritters from my years cooking in France, and the giant batches of crab cakes I’d churn out as the executive chef of Daniel Boulud’s events company. You don’t need to buy lump crabmeat, but you do want to get the freshest possible.

In this master recipe, sesame seeds add a nutty crunch to a spice blend that’s savory with garlic and celery seeds. Aleppo pepper adds just a touch of heat; you can use more if you prefer spicy crab cakes. I like these with aioli on the side.

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