The Coach House's Deviled-Crab Cakes

In 1983, Craig Claiborne wrote of his lifelong passion for crab cakes. “I have found that the dish has almost as many versions as clam chowder and fried chicken,” Mr. Claiborne said. These deviled-crab cakes are from the Coach House, at 110 Waverly Place in Greenwich Village, a space now occupied by Babbo. The crab cakes are made with fresh lump crab meat, and the recipe yields a spicy cake that is “admirably moist in the center and crisp on the exterior.”


  • 1 pound fresh crab meat, preferably lump
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 ½ tablespoons plus 2 cups fresh bread crumbs made from 2-day-old bread
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • Salt to taste if desired
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon Tabasco
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup milk
  • Green sauce (see recipe), optional
  • Nutritional Information
    • Nutritional analysis per serving (10 servings)

      230 calories; 11 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 2 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 grams polyunsaturated fat; 18 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram dietary fiber; 2 grams sugars; 12 grams protein; 102 milligrams cholesterol; 390 milligrams sodium

    • Note: Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available data.

10 servings as first course, 5 as main course


  1. Pick over crab meat, removing all shell and cartilage. Leave in largest pieces possible. If pasteurized meat is used, drain all liquid that has accumulated. Put crab meat in mixing bowl.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in saucepan and add onion and celery. Cook, stirring often, until wilted. Let cool. Add onion mixture to crab. Add 2 1/2 tablesooons of bread crumbs, chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Blend egg yolk with mustard and cream and add it. Add Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise, Tabasco sauce and lemon juice.
  3. Blend mixture gently, taking care to avoid breaking up crab lumps. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until quite cold. If mixture is not cold, it will not shape properly.
  4. Put flour in flat-rimmed dish. Put lightly beaten egg with milk in another dish and remaining bread crumbs in a third.
  5. Shape mixture into 10 balls of equal size, pressing to make mixture adhere. Dip balls in flour, then in egg mixture and then in crumbs. Crab mixture is extremely delicate and must be handled with care to prevent its falling apart. As crab cakes are made, pat to flatten with great care, using spatula and fingers. Transfer carefully to dish and return to refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Heat remaining 3 tablespoons butter in skillet and cook crab cakes, handding cautiously, about 5 minutes on a side until nicely browned and piping hot. Serve, if desired, with green sauce on side.

1 hour 50 minutes

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