Introduction: Serving the Best Accompaniments with Crab Cakes
Crab cakes are a classic seafood dish that is enjoyed by many. They are typically made with lump crabmeat, breadcrumbs, and spices, and are pan-fried until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. While crab cakes are delicious on their own, they are often served with a variety of accompaniments that can enhance their flavor and texture. In this article, we will explore some of the best sides to serve with crab cakes.
Classic Pairing: Lemon Aioli and Tartar Sauce
Two classic sauces that pair perfectly with crab cakes are lemon aioli and tartar sauce. Lemon aioli is a creamy garlic sauce that is infused with fresh lemon juice and zest, which adds brightness and acidity to the crab cakes. Tartar sauce, on the other hand, is a tangy, mayonnaise-based sauce that contains pickles, capers, and herbs. It provides a zesty contrast to the rich flavors of the crab cakes.
To make lemon aioli, whisk together mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. For tartar sauce, mix together mayonnaise, chopped pickles, capers, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and herbs such as dill or parsley. Serve these sauces on the side of the crab cakes for dipping or drizzle them over the top for added flavor.
Southern Charm: Remoulade and Creole Mustard
If you’re looking to add some Southern charm to your crab cakes, try serving them with remoulade and Creole mustard. Remoulade is a spicy mayonnaise-based sauce that is commonly used in Louisiana cuisine. It contains ingredients such as hot sauce, paprika, and horseradish, which give it a bold, spicy flavor. Creole mustard, on the other hand, is a grainy mustard that is made with vinegar, horseradish, and spices. It has a tangy, pungent flavor that complements the sweetness of the crab meat.
To make remoulade, whisk together mayonnaise, hot sauce, paprika, horseradish, garlic, and parsley. For Creole mustard, mix together grainy mustard, vinegar, horseradish, and spices such as cayenne pepper and paprika. Serve these sauces on the side of the crab cakes for dipping or as a spread on a sandwich.
Asian-Inspired: Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce and Sriracha Mayo
For an Asian-inspired twist on crab cakes, try serving them with soy ginger dipping sauce and Sriracha mayo. Soy ginger dipping sauce is a tangy, savory sauce that is made with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and vinegar. It provides a delicious umami flavor that pairs well with the sweetness of the crab meat. Sriracha mayo, on the other hand, is a spicy mayonnaise-based sauce that contains Sriracha hot sauce. It adds a kick of heat to the crab cakes and balances out the sweetness.
To make soy ginger dipping sauce, whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil. For Sriracha mayo, mix together mayonnaise and Sriracha hot sauce. Adjust the amount of hot sauce to your desired level of spiciness. Serve these sauces on the side of the crab cakes for dipping or drizzle them over the top for added flavor.
Refreshing Sides: Coleslaw and Cucumber Salad
Crab cakes can be quite rich, so it’s always a good idea to serve them with some refreshing sides that can cut through the richness. Coleslaw and cucumber salad are two great options that provide a refreshing crunch and a burst of flavor. Coleslaw is typically made with shredded cabbage, carrots, and mayonnaise-based dressing. It adds a creamy, tangy texture to the crab cakes. Cucumber salad, on the other hand, is made with thinly sliced cucumber, red onion, and a simple dressing of vinegar and sugar. It provides a light, refreshing contrast to the rich flavors of the crab cakes.
To make coleslaw, mix together shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. For cucumber salad, toss together thinly sliced cucumber, sliced red onion, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Serve these sides on the plate alongside the crab cakes.
Hearty Sides: French Fries and Sweet Potato Fries
If you’re looking for some hearty sides to serve with your crab cakes, French fries and sweet potato fries are always a crowd-pleaser. Both of these sides provide a satisfying crunch and a savory flavor that complements the crab cakes well. French fries are typically made with russet potatoes, which have a fluffy texture and a neutral flavor. Sweet potato fries, on the other hand, are made with sweet potatoes, which have a sweeter flavor and a firmer texture.
To make French fries, cut russet potatoes into thin strips and fry them in hot oil until crispy and golden brown. For sweet potato fries, cut sweet potatoes into thin strips, toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and bake them in the oven until crispy. Serve these sides on the plate alongside the crab cakes.
Grains and Greens: Rice Pilaf and Arugula Salad
If you’re looking for some lighter, healthier options to serve with your crab cakes, rice pilaf and arugula salad are two great choices. Rice pilaf is a flavorful rice dish that is typically made with rice, broth, and aromatics such as onions, garlic, and herbs. It provides a satisfying grain component to the meal. Arugula salad, on the other hand, is made with peppery arugula leaves, shaved Parmesan cheese, and a simple lemon vinaigrette. It provides a bright, fresh contrast to the rich, savory flavors of the crab cakes.
To make rice pilaf, sauté onion and garlic in butter, add rice and broth, and simmer until the rice is tender and fluffy. For arugula salad, toss together arugula leaves, shaved Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Serve these sides on the plate alongside the crab cakes.
Wine Pairings: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
When it comes to choosing the right wine to pair with crab cakes, two classic choices are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Chardonnay is a white wine that is typically oaked, which gives it a rich, buttery flavor that complements the richness of the crab meat. Pinot Noir, on the other hand, is a light-bodied red wine that has a delicate, fruity flavor that pairs well with the subtle sweetness of the crab meat.
When serving crab cakes with Chardonnay, look for a wine that has a balanced acidity and a creamy mouthfeel. When serving crab cakes with Pinot Noir, look for a wine that has a light body and a bright, fruity flavor. Serve the wine chilled or at room temperature alongside the crab cakes.
Beer Pairings: Wheat Beer and Pale Ale
If you prefer beer over wine, there are also some great options for pairing with crab cakes. Two popular choices are wheat beer and pale ale. Wheat beer is a light, refreshing beer that has a citrusy flavor and a slightly sweet finish. It pairs well with the light, delicate flavors of the crab meat. Pale ale, on the other hand, is a hoppy beer that has a bitter, slightly floral flavor. It provides a bold contrast to the sweetness of the crab meat.
When serving crab cakes with wheat beer, look for a beer that has a light body and a citrusy flavor, such as a Belgian witbier or a German hefeweizen. When serving crab cakes with pale ale, look for a beer that has a hoppy flavor and a medium body, such as an American pale ale or an English bitter. Serve the beer chilled alongside the crab cakes.
Conclusion: Elevating the Crab Cake Experience with the Right Sides
In conclusion, crab cakes are a delicious seafood dish that can be elevated to the next level with the right sides. Lemon aioli and tartar sauce, remoulade and Creole mustard, soy ginger dipping sauce and Sriracha mayo, coleslaw and cucumber salad, French fries and sweet potato fries, rice pilaf and arugula salad are all great options to pair with crab cakes. When it comes to wine pairings, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are two classic choices, while wheat beer and pale ale are great options for beer lovers. By choosing the right sides and drinks, you can create a memorable dining experience that will leave your guests craving more.