April 14, 2011

Spicy Whole Wheat Crab Cakes with Tartar Sauce and Creamy Polenta {Naptime Everyday}

Crab Cakes

What’s Going on Today: Registration for summer camp mayhem, spring cleaning!

Naptime Goals: Make and mold crab cakes for dinner dinner. Finish laundry and start to put away winter clothes (!)

Tonight’s Menu: Spicy Whole Wheat Crab Cakes with Tartar Sauce and Creamy Polenta, green salad, crisp white wine.

Crab cakes during naptime?! Yes, it can be done! At least, I was pretty sure this was the case before I made them the other day and now I can tell you with certainty that these babies are great for naptime cooking. The whole reason I was so determined to make them in the first place was because I had a similar dish at a restaurant in Charleston and I couldn’t get them out of my head. I was desperate for another taste of those jumbo lump crab cakes and, since I am not returning to Charleston for at least another few months, the next best option was to make them at home.

We have an excellent seafood shop near us and I had no trouble procuring some delicious lump crab meat from the purveyor. During naptime I added it to a bowl with the bread chunks, egg, light mayonnaise, Ancho chili powder and a few dashes of Cholula and got to work. I opted to spice up the meat instead of just the tartar sauce because I wanted to insert the deep heat into the actual cake, not just have it drizzled on top. I also used whole wheat bread for the binding instead of more common white bread because it was all I had on hand. This unplanned change gave the cakes an unexpected subtle nutty flavor that we adored. I don’t think I’ll ever use white bread in crab cakes again.

Molding the cakes took less than a minute with my ordinary ramekins, then they chilled in the fridge for the rest of the afternoon while I went about the rest of my day packing away sweaters in acid-free paper and helping a budding three year-old artist with her watercolor techniques. For dinner I simply sauteed the crab cakes in butter, topped them with tartar sauce and placed them on a bed of quick creamy polenta. It was like my own Charleston restaurant meal in the comfort of my own kitchen.


Spicy Whole Wheat Crab Cakes

Makes about 6 to 8 large crab cakes


1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, well picked over
4 slices whole wheat bread
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons light mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Ancho chili powder
2 teaspoons Cholula
1 pinch kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter


1. Tear the whole wheat bread into small pieces and place them in a large mixing bowl. Add the crab meat, mayonnaise, egg, chili powder, cholula and salt. Mix the ingredients together with a spoon until they are completely combined.

2. Stuff the crab meat into a 1 cup size ramekin or measure spoon, packing it well to mold. Then gently pop the crab cake out with a fork onto a plate lined with wax paper. Alternatively, mold the crab cakes with your hands. Cover the plate with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for the afternoon.

3. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat and place the crab cakes in one even layer with enough room to flip them. Saute them for 4 minutes per side and serve on a bed of creamy polenta.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

These cakes would also be delicious molded into mini-cakes and served as appetizers at a party. Once cooked they can also be chilled in the fridge and reheated the next day for dinner.

Naptime Stopwatch

10 minutes for assembly, 10 minutes for cooking

Naptime Reviews

My husband and I loved our crab cakes. My daughter? Not so much, but we’ll get there.



More Naptime Recipes

9 Responses to “Spicy Whole Wheat Crab Cakes with Tartar Sauce and Creamy Polenta {Naptime Everyday}”

  1. Tickled Red says:

    Oh! I am in love…crab cakes are my downfall 🙂

  2. Erica says:

    Looks good. Plan to try out this weekend.

  3. I am a crab cake lover, they are so easy to put together! Love the kick in yours. Looks delicious!

  4. Love that you used whole wheat is these crab cakes! That is how we love ’em over here too 🙂

  5. Lizthechef says:

    Love the whole wheat bread. The texture is great and we all need the fiber! Wonder what “cholulu” is?

  6. Jaime {sophistimom} says:

    This looks so good, Kelsey. I love crab cakes, but with the polenta, it looks brilliant.

  7. Lauren says:

    “Cholula” is a fantastic hotsauce. I’m in Texas, so it’s pretty abundant. I’m pretty sure you can buy it online…

    These looked great, so I made them for supper on Sunday. Instead of cholula, I used Sriracha, and it was FANTASTIC. I too like the use of wheat bread. I couldn’t keep my 2yo away from them. I will try them with cholula next time 😉

  8. I find myself virtually unable to argue with crabcakes… so good, and what a nice dish for spring!

  9. […] I could eat fresh asparagus roasted with olive oil and Parmesan every day of the year. But, the other night when I pulled a bunch of fresh stalks out of the bag and showed them to my husband he looked less than enthusiastic when I announced yet another serving of my favorite dish. I can’t blame him really, when asparagus is in season I serve it at least twice a week, usually prepared the same way. To give him a break I decided to try something new and make an asparagus soup and serve it with fresh crab meat. The latter part of the recipe being influenced by the crab kick we’ve been on recently. […]