Pilar Valdes' Crab Cakes with Deviled Aioli

Chef Daniel Boulud shared his pro tip for making the silkiest aioli (a cold sauce made from garlic and oil), and we use it here to make a deviled aioli to accompany some delicious, tender crab cakes. Let’s get cooking!


Deviled Aioli

  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 1 Egg Poached and cooled slightly
  • 2 Anchovy Fillets
  • 1 Clove Garlic Minced or grated on a microplane
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tsp Sweet Smoked Paprika Pimenton
  • 1/2 Tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/8 Tsp Cayenne
  • 2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 3/4 Cup Neutral Oil Such as Canola
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt

Crab Cakes

  • 1 Lb Crab Meat Lump recommended
  • 1 Tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/8 Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Caper Brine
  • 2 Tbsp Capers Roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tbsp Deviled Aioli
  • 1 Egg Beaten
  • 1 Tsp Sweet Smoked Paprika Pimenton
  • 1 Lemon Zested and Juiced
  • 2 Tbsp Chopped Parsley About 4-5 sprigs
  • 2 Tbsp Finely Chopped Scallions About 1 stalk
  • 1 Cup Finely Diced Celery About 2 stalks
  • 2 Tbsp Minced Shallots About 1 Small Shallot
  • 1 Cup Seasoned Breadcrumbs
  • Neutral Oil



Deviled Aioli: 

In a food processor or a blender, add all the ingredients, except the oil and kosher salt, and puree until smooth. With the machine running, add the oil in a steady, thin stream to create an emulsion. The sauce should be pale red and thick, with a similar consistency to a mayonnaise. If it’s too thick, feel free to add cold water, 1 teaspoon at a time, to loosen things up slightly. (The sauce will set more as it sits.) Check for seasoning, and add salt to taste. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. Aioli can be made up to 3 days in advance.  

* Chef Boulud also recommends blanching the garlic cloves (as an alternative to adding raw, minced garlic) for a more delicate, garlic flavor. If blanching, no need to mince the garlic.


Crab Cakes: 

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, aioli, mustard, capers and caper brine, lemon zest and juice, celery, shallots and all the herbs. Add the crab meat and sprinkle ½ cup of the breadcrumbs on top. Season with salt and pepper and fold gently, until fully combined. If the mixture feels too loose, add more breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon at a time. Divide into 8 equal portions and shape into patties. (I like to use a 3” cookie cutter, which yields uniform and perfect-sized patties. Freezing the patties for at least 20 minutes before cooking makes these tender patties more manageable in the cooking process.) You can also make these ahead of time and cook them from frozen - just adjust your cooking time accordingly.

For a crisp exterior and tender bite: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Heat up about 2 tablespoons of neutral oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Sear the patties until golden brown, about 1 ½ minutes on each side. Transfer to a lined baking tray, and finish in the oven until fully cooked through, about 8-10 minutes more.

Alternatively: You can also fully cook these crabcakes in the oven at 400 for 12-15 minutes. (They’ll still be delicious, but will not have that crisp crust.)

Whichever cooking method you choose – allow them to set and cool slightly (about 5 minutes) before serving, which allows the patties to firm up slightly. Serve with wedges of lemon, your favorite hot sauce, a shower of fresh herbs, and a healthy swipe of the deviled aioli on the side.