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Delish's Crab Cake Poppers

Delish's Crab Cake Poppers

Recently, I’ve been challenging myself to make new dishes. Either with ingredients I’ve never worked with, or to recreate favorite meals.

This week, after seeing Delish’s how-to video for these crab cake appetizers, I decided to try it myself. I’ve never made crab cakes before, probably because crab meat is such an expensive ingredient.

But, since it is summertime, I figured I would splurge on the crab and see if I could make this recipe.

Delish’s Crab Cake Poppers Ingredients

Delish's   Crab Cake Poppers_ Ingredients_K.Martinelli Blog _ Kristen Martinelli

I took a trip to the supermarket to buy many of the ingredients for this recipe. Since the crab meat is the star of this appetizer, I spent most of my time reading the crab meat labels.

In the seafood case at Shoprite, the top shelf had one brand of crab meat in dark metal containers. There were four different names for the crab meat and they ranged in price from $21-$40 per can.

I was reading the ounces per can, trying to understand the difference in price. I wonder if the crab’s quality depended on the name.

In the end, I spent the money and bought the $40 can.

I also bought the Panko breadcrumbs (I only had Italian on-hand). I borrowed Old Bay seasoning from my neighbor and cut some of the chives he grows in his garden.

Instructions to Make Crab Cake Appetizers

Delish's  Crab Cake Poppers _ Instructions_K.Martinelli Blog _ Kristen Martinelli (1).png

I never made crab cakes before. Reading the ingredient list, you would expect this to be a complicated recipe, but it’s not. Once you have the ingredients, most of your time is spent chopping the herbs, shredding the cheese, pulling apart the crab meat, and folding everything together.

Frying the Crab Poppers

Delish’s recipe tells you to freeze the poppers once they’re formed. I thought this was contradictory to the point of buying fresh lump crab meat. But, I didn’t want to ruin the recipe, so I froze them as instructed. Freezing them helped when moving them from their tray and into the fryer.

Delish's Crab Cake Poppers_Step 3_K.Martinelli Blog_Kristen Martinelli.png

Frying and plating the crab cake poppers proved to be the most challenging part.

Like frying meatballs, place the crab poppers into the hot oil and leave them there. Do not move or turn them too soon. If the bottom of the ball hasn’t turned golden and crispy, they will fall apart in the oil.

The first batch of poppers that I fried, I tried to turn too soon. You can tell they’re not ready to flip, because the bottom will stick to the pan and you will fight it to get it to turn. Leave it a few minutes longer and then it will easily turn.

Delish's Crab Cake Poppers_FryingK.Martinelli Blog_Kristen Martinelli.png

I alternated between using a spoon and a pair of tongs. The crab poppers are delicate, so using the tongs broke their round shape. A spoon works fine, but be careful not to fling oil out of the pan and start a fire.

The Final Product

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Texture and Flavor

The crab is unbelievable. From my first forkful, I was impressed. The crab popper was tender and meaty, since I didn’t shred it completely apart.

The Panko breadcrumbs gave the popper texture without drying out the filling. There was a good balance, between the breadcrumb filling (to bind the crab cake together), and the crab meat texture. Unlike other crab cakes, where it’s 90% breadcrumbs and hardly any meat.

Aioli and Sides

I added lemon juice on top when serving, which was a bright note. You absolutely need to serve the poppers with the aioli.

I originally didn’t think I was going to like it (mayo with lemon juice?!) — it seemed like an unappealing combination. But the twangy flavor of the lemon with the Old Bay seasoning was perfect with the crab poppers. It’s hard to describe it, but the poppers needed this sauce to make for a bold flavor.

The aioli serving size was enough for one meal, and a tiny bit leftover. If you’re doubling the recipe, or prefer a saucy crab popper, you may want to triple the aioli recipe, so you don’t run out.

I served the crab cake poppers over fresh arugula. I wanted this dish to be light, while focusing on the crab.

Servings and Storage

I would consider that two crab poppers were equivalent to one normal crab cake. I served four crab poppers per adult at dinner. They were so rich that I didn’t think anyone could eat any more.

That meant there was at least four leftover. I put them in a glass container and took them for lunch the next day. I microwaved them for 30-seconds to take the chill out of them. I ate them again with the side of aioli and they were just as good (though not as crispy).

I would not store them leftover for more than a day, since it is a seafood-based recipe.

Overall Thoughts

I would give this recipe a 12/10.

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  • Recipe Level

    • Beginners*: I would consider this a beginner’s recipe. You don’t have to manipulate the ingredients — just combine everything in one bowl. Frying the crab poppers is where this recipe may move a bit above “beginner,” which is why I put an asterisk.

  • Ingredients

    • I would consider this an expensive recipe. I bought the $40 can of crab meat so this made 20 poppers which was shared among 4 adults. If you’re throwing a summertime party, you would probably have to double this recipe.

  • Prep

    • 45-minutes: You need enough time to buy the ingredients, form the poppers, and allow them time in the freezer. Plus, the time to fry them.

      Expect the prep and cook time to be longer if you’re doubling the recipe. You can always form and freeze the crab poppers in advance, and fry them the day of your event.

  • Flavor

    • 12/10: I adore this recipe. I am thrilled with the flavor and texture combinations. The aioli makes this appetizer pop. I highly recommend you try and make it.

K. Martinelli Makes Delish’s Crab Cake Poppers

Thanks for Watching!

Do you like crab cakes? Or have a favorite summertime recipe? Leave a comment below with your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you!

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