Utah Bites

Pepin-Style Crab Cakes with Avocado Sauce

Here is the recipe for a killer crab cake with avocado sauce. The key is using the best crab you can find and handling the cakes gently.


One of my very favorite people is chef and educator Jacques Pepin. He is wonderfully generous with his time and talent and one of the kindest people I know. He makes a killer crab cake with avocado sauce, and I’ve adapted Pepin’s recipe here. The key is using the best crab you can find, such as lump blue crab meat and handling the cakes gently. 


Crab Cakes

  • 8 oz. crab meat (preferably lump crab meat or claws)
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. Tabasco sauce (or other hot sauce, such as Louisiana Hot Sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh chives
  • 3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs (made from about 1 1/2 slices of bread)
  • 3 Tbsp peanut oil (canola or vegetable oil also works)

Avocado Sauce

  • 1 small ripe avocado
  • 1 ripe tomato (5 ounces), peeled, halved, seeded, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp peanut oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh chives


For the Crab Cakes

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the bread crumbs and peanut oil in a mixing bowl. Mix together lightly. One key to making great crab cakes is to not overwork the mixture.
  2. Next, add the bread crumbs and mix lightly, until thoroughly incorporated. Again, handle the crab cake mixture gently.
  3. Form the crab mixture into four patties, each about 1 inch thick. Handle the mixture gently; the crab patties should just barely hold together. It helps to dampen your hands with water when handling the patties.
  4. Heat the peanut oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  5. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, gently place the crab patties in the pan. Saute the crab cakes until they are golden brown on both sides — about 3-4 minutes on each side.

For the Avocado Sauce

  1. While the crab cakes are cooking, peel and pit the avocado and coarsely chop it. Combine the avocado and tomato in a bowl. Add the vinegar, oil, pepper, salt, and water, tossing gently to mix.
  2. To serve, spoon the avocado mixture onto four individual plates and sprinkle with the chives. Place the crab cakes on top and serve.



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Food writer Ted SchefflerOriginally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.

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