Tarragon Crab Cakes


Summer is here, Jersey! It’s time to dust off the grill, uncover the pool, and start saving for the gas price increase. Anyone doing anything fun this summer? I’ll be interning at Zagat three days a week, and I couldn’t be more excited!

So that picture up at the top, those are mini crab cakes. As I mentioned in my recent monkey bread post, I love my Food Porn Daily cookbook. So when I found a recipe for tarragon crab cakes, I knew I’d have to make them. I’ve always wanted to make my own crab cakes and this was it. It was time to fulfill my crab cake making dreams!

I actually made these twice. The first time for dinner and the second as an appetizer for a party. They are truly delicious. Don’t know if you like tarragon? Try it. You can get a little pack of fresh tarragon leaves at the food store for like $0.99. If you end up not liking it, find a new recipe. Seriously, just don’t leave the tarragon out of these because that’s what makes these tarragon crab cakes. Get it?

You need to start this recipe with the tarragon aioli which takes an hour to marry in the fridge. When that’s nice and combined, you can start mixing the cakes and rolling them into patties. It really is so simple to make crab cakes. What I like most about this recipe is the unique mix of spices, ingredients, and the ratio of crab meat to bread crumbs – the bread crumbs don’t overpower the crab meat. The only things I changed were the subtraction of the tarragon in the crab cakes (I only used it in the aioli), the subtraction of macadamia nuts all together, and the addition of a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce. Other than that, these crab cakes are grade A yummy!

Tarragon Macadamia Crab Cakes
from Food Porn Daily The Cookbook

Crab Cakes

  • 16 oz. lump crab meat, picked over for shells
  • 3 tbsp. tarragon aioli (recipe follows)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts, chopped


Place all ingredients for crab cakes into a mixing bowl. Mix well, trying not to break up any lumps of crab meat, Form crab mixture into 5 even crab cakes (or more if you want to make mini ones), using your hands to free-form or a ring mold as your guide.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Once pan is hot and butter has melted,add 2 or 3 crab cakes to melted butter. Saute over medium-high heat for 6 minutes or until bottom of crab cake releases from pan and edges turn golden brown. Flip and cook or another 6 minutes until golden.

Melt remaining butter in saute pan and repeat cooking process with remainging crab cakes. (Note: Trying to cook all the crab cakes at the same time will overcrowd the pan and make cakes hard to flip.) Serve crab cakes immediately.

Tarragon Aioli

  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 egg yolk, as fresh as possible
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus extra
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper, plus extra
  • 1/2 cup canola oil, or other flavorless oil (I used vegetable oil)


Whisk together first 7 ingredients in a large mixing bowl or add to the bowl of a food processor and pule to combine. While continuously whisking vigorously or with the food processor running, very slowly drizzle in the oil in a thin stream to form an emulsified sauce. If you note any oil beginning to pool, stop drizzling oil and continue whisking until incorporated. If the sauce breaks, start over. Adjust seasoning to taste with more salt and pepper. Chill for as least an hour before serving for the flavors to marry. Store chilled for up to 4 days.