Are you looking to seriously impress someone this Valentine’s Day?
Or just show a little love and gratitude to your special someone? Or are you single and planning to treat yo self?
If any of the above scenarios are true, I’ve got you sooooo covered. Say hello to the breakfast of your dreams. Or at least the breakfast of my dreams.
Breakfast has so much potential to be such a romantic meal. Think about it. You’re starting your day off right with someone you care about, and slowing it down for a day and enjoying each other’s company over a hot mug of coffee and a yummy jumpstarting meal. It can be so special. So why not put in a little more effort than scrambled eggs require and cook your person (or yourself!) up some crab cakes with poached eggs? Sound intimitading? I promise you, it’s not. Let me walk you through it.
Crab cakes are a very simple thing to make. You’ve probably heard a lot of fuss over them being tough to execute. Or, like me, you’ve even had your fair share of BAD crab cakes. Ya know the ones I mean. Shredded, barely recognizable crab meat that is more of a grayish tan color than the clean white of lump crab meat? The ones that kind of taste bland and fishy? Or the ones that have more bready filling than actual crab meat?
Well. No worries. None of that is happening here today. Like I said, crab cakes are easy; you just have to know a trick or two. You make a binder mix, which in this case is some tangy homemade tartar sauce (which can be made the night before!) mixed with crushed crackers and an egg. THEN! You gently fold in the best jumbo lump crab meat you can find and very gently form the mixture into patties. You don’t want to break up the lumps of crab too much, so handling it with care is key.
It’s ALL ABOUT THE CRAB. Yes, good crab is an investment, but this is for Valentine’s Day! Trust me. If you’re making crab cakes at home, you want and need to go all in.
Said patties can be put in the fridge the night before (I’ve made them this way several times) and crisped up in a hot pan while you poach your eggs and slice your avocado. The actual active cook time on this recipe is 5-10 minutes? The crab cakes only need 1-2 minutes per side to crisp up until golden, and poached eggs take no time at all, once you’ve got the water up to a simmer.
These crab cakes are my favorite homemade version. I’ve made them three times now, once for Christmas day as a huge snack spread, and they’re always a hit. I think the super tangy, almost pickly tartar sauce is what does me in (aside from that succulent-sweet crab). This is not your average tartar sauce by any means. It is LOADED with flavor and has a super fun briney kick to it. It pairs beautifully with the crab meat, which is a good thing since this recipe uses it both in the binding of the crab cakes and as the drizzle over top. It’s kind of like a pickled hollandaise substitute. That sounds weird, doesn’t it?
Just trust me. It’s gooooood.
[Confession time: I can actually eat it straight with a spoon. How gross am I?!]
The combination of these ingredients works magic on your tastebuds. You’ve got the crispy, sweet crab cake, buttery sliced avocado, the tangy tartar sauce, and the most delicious thing on EARTH (hello, see the name of this blog? I’m biased): a perfectly, runny-yolked poached egg running down all over everything. GAH. It’s breakfast perfection. All that’s missing are big mugs of piping hot coffee.
Don’t have time to make this in real life for breakfast? Make it for dinner! In fact, that’s how I served this batch up, and Dan was a VERY happy camper when he came home from work that night. Crab cakes are such a treat, given the price tag, but they are EASY and impressive and everyone feels special when you make them.
Breakfast for dinner is still a totally romantic idea. Breakfast elicits feelings of comfort and coziness for me, so serving it up for dinner is definitely a regular occurrence in our house (not to mention, it’s usually freaking easy). Eggs are my love language, no matter the time of day.
And certainly on Valentine’s Day.
For the Tartar Sauce:
- ¼ cup diced dill pickles
- 1 tablespoon drained capers
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Crab Cakes:
- ½ cup of the tartar sauce
- 1 cup oyster crackers, crushed
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 lb jumbo lump crabmeat
- Olive oil, for cooking
- Eggs, for poaching
- White vinegar, for poaching the eggs
- 1 avocado, sliced or mashed
- Lemon wedges
- Red pepper flakes
- Fresh parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper
For the Tartar Sauce:
- Combine all the ingredients for the tartar sauce in a food processor and blend until well mixed and pureed. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
- Transfer ½ cup of the tartar sauce to a large bowl to be used for mixing up the crab cakes and the other half to a serving bowl for later.
For the Crab Cakes:
- To the tartar sauce in the bowl, add the crushed oyster crackers, the beaten egg, and pinch of salt. Mix well before gently folding in the crab meat. You want to mix until everything is incorporated but so the crab meat is still very much intact.
- Gently form the mixture into ¼-cup sized patties, gently pressing down on the formed crab cakes. Place the formed crab cakes on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Transfer the crab cakes to the fridge to set up while you bring the water for the eggs up to a simmer.
- Once the water comes up to a simmer, stream in a tablespoon or two of white vinegar and then stir the water in a circular motion to create a gentle vortex (this helps the egg whites stay together). Crack each egg into a small bowl or ramekin. Carefully add your eggs, one at a time, to the simmering water. Poach for about 3-4 minutes for a cooked egg white and runny yolk.
- Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the eggs from the water and place on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Heat the olive oil for the crab cakes in a large nonstick skillet and place the pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the crab cakes, in batches, to the hot pan and cook for 1 minute per side, just until they are crispy and golden.
- Place a crab cake on each serving plate and top with slices of avocado (or mashed avocado if that’s preferred). Spritz everything with a lemon wedge and then top the avocado with one of the poached eggs.
- Drizzle the remaining tartar sauce liberally over the plate and garnish with a little fresh parsley, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt. Serve immediately.
Crab cakes and tartar sauce lightly adapted from here.