Baked Crab Cakes with Caper-Dill Sauce and Red Pepper Coulis

Sunday December 20, 2015

Crab cakes, once down home food in seaport towns, are the darling of the restaurant scene these days. They are so very easy to whip together, especially if you keep a can of premium crab meat on your shelf, although fresh is always just that tad more tasty. Crab cakes, an American invention generally associated with the area surrounding Chesapeake Bay, takes the inconvenience out of eating crabs by creating plump patty-like shapes of seafood deliciousness that can be easily cut with a knife and fork.

These crab cakes, from my NYM Weeknight Cooking book (which has kick ass fabulous recipes in it), are baked instead of fried, which makes them less messy a preparation, so if you like that fried crust, you can sear in a hot sauté pan for a minute on both sides before placing in the oven. Keep a few jars of roasted red peppers in your cupboard. Look for large jars at bulk foods stores. You can whip up this delicious, colorful sauce in minutes in the food processor. You can make both sauces the day before if you wish. They are ever so good in the mouth at the same time with a bite of crab cake.

These are also good made with half crab and salmon, especially if you are using canned crab. Serve with a terribly French style celery root salad on the side (recipe following), which tastes great with seafood, or sweet potato fries.

Serves 4


  • 1 pound fresh or canned lump crabmeat
  • 2 cups dry breadcrumbs
  • 2/3 cup minced celery
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground black or white pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Caper-Dill Sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup chopped rinsed capers
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • Few splashes hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
  • Red Pepper Coulis
  • 1 15- or 16-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained
  • Pinch of dried thyme or 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons chicken or vegetable broth
  • Few grinds black pepper


Preheat the oven to 375º. Parchment-line a baking sheet. In a medium bowl, combine the crab, 1 cup of the

shaping by hand

breadcrumbs, celery, red onion, and parsley. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, and eggs; stir to combine and evenly moisten. Shape crabmeat by 1/4 cupfuls into small rounds, then slightly flatten to make eight 1-inch thick patties.

Place the remaining 1 cup of breadcrumbs on a plate and press each pattie to lightly coat; tap off any extra. Place on the baking sheet, with space in between each pattie. Spray with some olive oil cooking spray.

Place in the center of the oven and bake for 25 minutes, until firm.

Make the dill-caper sauce. In a small bowl, stir together all the ingredients until evenly combined. Cover and refrigerate until serving if not making the crab cakes immediately. Makes about 1 cup.

ready to bake

Make the red pepper coulis. Place the peppers and thyme in a food processor and pulse until a purée is formed. Pulse in the olive oil and broth until the desired sauce consistency. Pour into a covered container and stir in some black pepper. Refrigerate until serving. Heat over low heat on the stove top or in the microwave before serving. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

To serve, place 2 crab cakes on each dinner plate next to a bit of Celery Root Salad. Top each cake with some Dill-Caper Sauce and spoon some Red Pepper Coulis around the cake. Serve immediately.

Celery Root Salad

Celery root is probably one of the ugliest vegetables. It is the root of a special celery plant cultivated just for its oversized root. It is crisp and crunchy with a distinctive pungent flavor all its own described as a cross between celery and parsley. It is a favorite in French cuisine for raw salads and this classic rendition of céleri-rave rémoulade, a classic bistro salad, is a real treat with crab cakes or scallops.

Makes about 3 cups


  • 1 large celery root (1 to 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into thin strips (can be shredded in food processor or on a mandoline)
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper


Prepare the celery root and place in a medium bowl (if not making immediately, add water and lemon juice to prevent discoloration). In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, buttermilk or yogurt, mustard, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Stir into the celery root with a rubber spatula and fold to evenly coat. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Excerpted from Not Your Mother’s Weeknight Cooking, by Beth Hensperger. (c) 2008, used by permission from the Harvard Common Press.

Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2015

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.

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