Open-Faced Crab Cake Sandwich with Nectarine-Radish Salad

For an upscale lunch or light dinner, nothing compares to this modern bistro take on the traditional crab cake. The complexity of the tart nectarines in harmony with the spicy bitterness of radishes and microgreens enhances the sweetness of the lump crab meat. The combination is a catch of the fruits of both land and sea.


For the Crab Cakes:

¾ cup finely diced sweet onion
1 cup finely diced celery
½ cup enjoya or yellow bell pepper
2 tablespoons seeded and finely chopped jalapeño pepper
½ cup freshly chopped fresh cilantro
1 pound fresh lump crab meat
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
½ teaspoon minced fresh garlic
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons old bay seasoning
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
4 cups crushed butter cracker
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup heavy cream

For Assembling the Crab Cakes:

12 slices brioche bread or 6 split brioche buns
4 tablespoons butter, softened

For the Nectarine-Radish Salad:

1½ ounces microgreens
2 nectarines, thinly sliced
5 to 6 French breakfast radishes, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

For the Aioli:

1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon finely ground black pepper


To Make the Crab Cakes:

Combine the chopped onion, celery, yellow pepper, jalapeño pepper, and cilantro in a medium bowl; set aside.

Place the lump crab meat in a separate bowl. Carefully, pick over the meat to make sure it is free of shell and cartilage. Season the crab with salt, red chili pepper flakes, garlic, black pepper, Old Bay seasoning, and lemon juice. Combine as not to crush the lumps of delicate crab meat. Once blended, transfer the crab mixture to the bowl with the vegetables. Add 2 cups of the crushed butter crackers with the melted butter to the crab-vegetable mixture. Gently fold all the ingredients together just until combined. Do not over mix.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the eggs, mayonnaise, and heavy cream. Pour the egg mixture over the crab and incorporate carefully, again avoiding breaking up the meat.

Place the additional 2 cups crushed butter cracker in a bowl. With a large spoon or scoop, take about ⅓ cup crab cake mixture and form a ball. Roll the ball in the crushed crackers until well-coated, then shape into 3-inch patties, about ½ to ¾ inch thick. Repeat the process until you form approximately 12 patties. Transfer to a baking sheet pan and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Without overcrowding, pan-fry in batches the chilled crab cake patties in a cast-iron skillet until golden brown on each side, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Return pan-fried cakes to the baking sheet pan and finish heating in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until thoroughly warmed.

To Prepare the Bread:

Increase the temperature of the oven to broil. Lay the brioche bread slices or bun halves face up on a large baking sheet pan and evenly butter each slice with softened butter. Place under the broiler until golden brown.

To Make the Nectarine-Radish Salad:

Shortly before serving, toss together the microgreens, nectarine slices, and radish slices with olive oil, vinegar, and Old Bay seasoning. Set aside.

To Make the Aioli:

In another bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, garlic, cilantro, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire Sauce, salt, and black pepper. Set aside.

To Assemble the Crab Cakes:

To assemble the sandwiches, spread an even amount of the aioli on each of the brioche slices. Place a pan-fried crab cake on each slice of bread and randomly top with the tossed nectarine-radish salad. Serve while warm.

Recipe Created & Stylized by R. Shannon Mock & Brontë E. Mock 

Photography by Robyn J. Mock



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