Chesapeake Blue Crab Cakes with Fried Oysters

chesapeake blue crab cake with fried oysters
Photo: Mikkel Vang
Prep Time:
55 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 15 mins

Crisp, golden crab cakes are delicious on their own, but topped with fried oysters and a fresh tomato-cucumber relish, they're downright spectacular.


  • 1 slice stale white bread, torn into pieces

  • 1 stalk celery, peeled and finely chopped (½ cup)

  • 2 pepperoncini peppers, finely chopped (1 tablespoon)

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • 1 pound fresh lump crabmeat, preferably Chesapeake blue, drained and picked over

  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus a pinch

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • Kosher salt

  • ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

  • Safflower oil, for frying

  • 12 oysters, shucked and drained

  • Bibb-lettuce leaves and lemon wedges, for serving

  • Tomato-Cucumber Relish


  1. Pulse bread in a food processor until finely chopped. (You should have 1/2 cup.)

  2. In a large bowl, toss together celery, pepperoncini, parsley, breadcrumbs, and crabmeat to combine. Add mayonnaise, Dijon, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, egg, and 3/4 teaspoon salt; gently stir to combine. Form mixture into eight 2 1/2-inch-diameter patties (about 1/3 cup each). Refrigerate at least 15 minutes or, covered, up to 1 day.

  3. In a shallow bowl, whisk together flour, pinch of cayenne, and a pinch of salt. In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet (preferably cast iron), heat 1/2 inch oil over medium-high. Add a pinch of flour mixture; if it sizzles, oil is ready. Working in batches, gently add crab cakes to oil, reduce heat to medium, and fry, flipping once, until golden and crisp, about 4 minutes a side. Drain on paper towels; sprinkle with salt. Strain oil into a small saucepan until you have 1 inch (adding more oil, if necessary) and heat over medium-high to 350 degrees.

  4. Pat oysters dry. Dredge in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Fry until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels. To serve, place a few lettuce leaves on each plate; top with crab cakes, a few fried oysters, and relish. Squeeze lemon wedges over top if desired.

Cook's Notes

Use a flexible spatula for easy flipping when frying.

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