When it comes to seafood, crab cakes are a popular delicacy that most people can’t resist. Crispy and golden-brown on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside, crab cakes are the perfect appetizer or main dish option for seafood lovers. While crab cakes are delicious on their own, pairing them with the right sides can elevate their flavor and make for a more balanced meal. The question of what sides go best with crab cakes is one that is often asked, and the answer can vary depending on personal preferences and regional cuisine. In this article, we will explore some of the best sides to serve with crab cakes, both traditional and unconventional, so that next time you make crab cakes, you can create the perfect culinary experience.
Understanding Crab Cakes: A Brief Introduction
Crab cakes are a delicious seafood dish that has been enjoyed for centuries. They originated in the United States, particularly in the Chesapeake Bay area, and have since become popular all over the world. Crab cakes are made by combining crab meat with various ingredients such as breadcrumbs, spices, herbs, and mayonnaise to create a flavorful patty that is then fried or baked.
The Ingredients of Crab Cakes
The key ingredient of crab cakes is obviously crab meat. However, not all types of crab meat are ideal for making this dish. The most commonly used type is lump crab meat because it has a sweet flavor and firm texture that holds together well when cooked. Other ingredients include breadcrumbs or crackers to bind the mixture together, eggs to help everything stick together better and give the patties structure when cooking.
What Makes a Great Crab Cake?
A great crab cake should have just enough filler ingredients like bread crumbs without taking away from its main star: the fresh lump crabmeat. It should also be seasoned well enough to bring out its natural sweetness but not overly spiced so as not to overpower it.
Pairing Sides with Crab Cakes
When it comes to serving up your perfectly cooked homemade or restaurant-bought crabcake(s), you’ll want sides that complement their rich flavor profile without stealing their thunder. Here are some great side dishes that go well with this delectable seafood treat:
Coleslaw is an excellent side dish for any seafood meal because of its refreshing crunchiness and tangy taste. It’s easy to make at home too! Just shred some cabbage, carrots or other vegetables you like along with some creamy dressing (mayo or yogurt) plus salt & pepper seasoning – voila!
French fries might seem like an odd pairing at first glance but they work surprisingly well with crab cakes. The crispy texture of the fries contrasts nicely with the soft, tender crab cake, and they’re both fried so it’s a match made in heaven.
A light salad is an excellent pairing for crab cakes because it provides a refreshing contrast to the rich flavor of the seafood. Try tossing some mixed greens with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocado and dress it up with some vinaigrette or lemon juice.
Roasted vegetables like asparagus or Brussels sprouts provide a healthy and flavorful side dish that pairs well with crab cakes. Simply season your veggies with salt, pepper, and olive oil before roasting them in the oven until they’re golden brown.
Baked beans are an ideal side dish for any BBQ-style seafood meal because they have a sweet flavor that goes well with savory foods like crabcakes. They also contain protein and fiber which makes them a healthy addition to your meal.
Classic Sides for Crab Cakes: Elevating the Basics
Crab cakes are a classic seafood dish that is both elegant and simple. When it comes to serving crab cakes, side dishes can make all the difference in elevating the meal. While coleslaw and fries are always crowd-pleasers, there are some classic sides that can take your crab cake dining experience to a whole new level.
The Classic Caesar Salad
Caesar salad is a perfect side dish for crab cakes because it contains ingredients like anchovies, garlic, parmesan cheese and lemon juice which enhance the flavors of this seafood delicacy. You can also add some croutons or bacon bits for extra texture and flavor.
Steamed asparagus is an excellent side dish for crab cakes because its delicate flavor does not overpower the seafood’s natural sweetness. Plus, asparagus provides fiber, vitamins A and C which makes it an incredibly healthy addition to your meal.
Roasted potatoes make an excellent accompaniment to any meal with their crispy outside and soft inside texture. They’re easy to prepare too! Just toss them with olive oil before baking in the oven until they’re golden brown.
Grilled vegetables such as zucchini or eggplant provide a smoky flavor that goes well with any seafood dish including crab cakes. Simply brush some olive oil on them before grilling until they’re tender yet still have a bit of crunchiness left.
Creamed spinach is another classic pairing for seafood dishes like crab cakes because its rich creaminess pairs well with their sweet flavor profile. To make this side dish simply sauté some spinach leaves in butter then add heavy cream plus salt & pepper seasoning – you’ll be licking your plate clean!
Elevating Basic Sides: Some Delicious Twists
While traditional sides will never go out of style, there are some delicious twists you can put on them to make your crab cake dining experience even more memorable.
Truffle fries take the classic French fry and elevate them to a whole new level. They’re made by tossing fries with truffle oil and grated parmesan cheese before baking or frying until crispy. These fries pair beautifully with crab cakes because their rich flavor balances out the sweetness of the seafood.
Mango salsa is an excellent side dish for crab cakes because its fruity sweetness pairs well with their natural sweetness. It’s easy to make too! Simply dice some mangoes, red onions, jalapenos, cilantro leaves then mix everything up in a bowl along with lime juice plus salt & pepper seasoning.
Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet potato fries provide a healthier alternative to regular French fries while still providing that crispy texture that goes so well with seafood like crabcakes! Plus they contain fiber and vitamins A & C which makes them an incredibly healthy addition to any meal.
Coastal Inspirations: Sides That Complement the Ocean’s Bounty
Crab cakes are a staple of coastal cuisine, and there is no better way to enjoy them than with complementary sides that celebrate the bounty of the ocean. Here are some delicious side dishes inspired by coastal flavors that will elevate any crab cake dining experience.
Grilled Corn on the Cob
Grilled corn on the cob is a classic summer side dish that pairs perfectly with crab cakes. The sweetness of grilled corn complements the natural sweetness of fresh lump crab meat, while its smoky flavor adds a unique twist to your meal.
Watermelon salad is an excellent choice for anyone looking for something light and refreshing to serve alongside their crab cakes. It’s made by combining diced watermelon with feta cheese, mint leaves, and balsamic vinegar dressing – it may sound odd but trust us it works!
Hushpuppies are a traditional Southern side dish made from cornmeal batter mixed with spices such as onion powder or garlic powder. These savory balls provide an excellent contrast to sweet crab cakes while also adding texture and crunchiness.
Fried okra is another Southern classic that goes well with seafood like crabcakes because its crispy texture provides an interesting contrast to their softness. Simply coat sliced okra in seasoned flour before frying until golden brown then serve hot!
Seafood chowder is a hearty soup filled with chunks of fish or shellfish like clams, shrimp or lobster plus potatoes, carrots & other veggies depending on preference! This creamy soup provides all sorts of flavors one would find in any seafood dish including crabcakes – making it an ideal pairing option.
Unique Coastal Twists: Pairings Beyond Convention
While classic coastal sides will always be popular choices when serving up your favorite seafood dishes like crabcakes – there are some unique twists you can put on them to make things even more interesting.
Plantain chips are a great alternative to traditional potato chips and go well with crab cakes because their natural sweetness complements the seafood’s sweetness. Plus, they’re healthier than regular potato chips too!
Grilled pineapple is another tropical-inspired side dish that goes well with any seafood meal including crab cakes. Its sweet flavor pairs perfectly with the rich flavors of this seafood delicacy while its caramelized texture adds a unique twist.
Coconut rice is an exotic side dish that provides a flavorful contrast to the delicate taste of crab cakes. It’s made by cooking rice in coconut milk instead of water which gives it a creamy texture and subtle coconut flavor.
Asian Influences: Bold and Bright Flavors
Crab cakes are a versatile seafood dish that pairs well with a wide range of flavors, including bold and bright Asian-inspired dishes. Here are some delicious side dishes that will add an extra kick to your crab cake meal.
Edamame is a classic Japanese side dish made from boiled soybeans in their pods. It’s an excellent source of protein and fiber, making it a healthy addition to any meal. The nutty flavor of edamame complements the sweet taste of crab cakes perfectly.
Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made from fermented vegetables such as cabbage or radishes mixed with spices like chili powder or ginger. This spicy side dish adds bold flavor that can balance out the sweetness of crab cakes while also providing some heat.
Steamed Bok Choy
Steamed bok choy is an excellent choice for anyone looking for something light and healthy to serve alongside their crab cakes. This Chinese vegetable has a mild, slightly sweet flavor that complements seafood perfectly without overpowering it.
Rice noodles are another classic Asian side dish that goes well with crab cakes because they’re light yet filling at the same time! Plus, they absorb flavors very well so you can dress them up with sauces or spices depending on your preference.
Miso soup is another classic Japanese option when serving up your favorite seafood meals like crabcakes! This hearty broth contains miso paste plus other ingredients like tofu & seaweed which provide plenty of nutrients along with umami flavors one would find in any seafood meal – making it ideal for pairing!
Unique Twists on Classic Dishes: Adding Complexity to Complement Crab Cakes
While traditional sides always work great when serving up your favorite crabcake recipes – there are some unique twists you can put on them to make things even more interesting.
Wasabi Mashed Potatoes
Wasabi mashed potatoes are a unique twist on the classic side dish. The wasabi adds a spicy kick to the potatoes, which goes well with the sweet flavor of crab cakes. Plus, it’s easy to make too! Just mix some wasabi paste into your regular mashed potato recipe.
Thai Peanut Noodles
Thai peanut noodles are a delicious side dish that provides an excellent contrast to the sweetness of crab cakes. This noodle dish is made by combining noodles, veggies & peanuts together with peanut sauce for extra flavor – making it an ideal pairing option!
Stir-fried vegetables like broccoli or snow peas provide a healthy and flavorful side dish that pairs well with crab cakes. Simply stir fry your favorite veggies along with garlic and ginger then season everything up with soy sauce before serving hot!
Unexpected Twists: Non-Traditional Sides for Crab Cakes
While classic sides like French fries, coleslaw, and salad are always great options when serving up your favorite crab cake recipes – sometimes it’s fun to mix things up a little bit. Here are some unexpected side dishes that you might not have considered pairing with crab cakes before.
Avocado salsa is a refreshing side dish that pairs well with the sweet taste of crab cakes. This dish is made by combining diced avocado with red onion, cilantro leaves, lime juice plus salt & pepper seasoning for added flavor.
Fried rice is an excellent choice for anyone looking for something filling and flavorful to serve alongside their crab cakes. It’s easy to make too! Just stir fry some cooked rice along with scrambled eggs and diced vegetables before seasoning everything up with soy sauce or other spices depending on preference.
Pickled vegetables such as cucumbers or carrots provide a tangy contrast to the sweetness of fresh lump crab meat. Simply slice your favorite veggies then soak them in vinegar along with sugar and salt until they’re pickled!
Roasted broccoli provides a healthy yet delicious side dish option that goes well with any seafood meal including crabcakes! Simply toss broccoli florets in olive oil then season everything up before roasting in the oven until tender yet crispy on top.
Unique Pairings: Going Beyond Conventional
What sides pair well with crab cakes?
One popular side dish to go with crab cakes is coleslaw, as it provides a nice balance of flavors and textures. Another great option is roasted or grilled vegetables, such as asparagus or zucchini, which help to add some healthy greens to the meal. For something a bit more filling, consider serving crab cakes with a side of buttery mashed potatoes or a baked sweet potato for a hearty and satisfying meal.
Can I serve crab cakes with rice?
Yes, rice is a perfectly acceptable side dish to serve with crab cakes. Brown rice, wild rice, or even a flavorful rice pilaf can help to complement the flavors of the crab cakes. Just be sure to season the rice well and consider adding some fresh herbs or chopped nuts to really elevate the dish.
What about salads – are they a good option to serve with crab cakes?
Absolutely! A fresh mixed green salad can help to add some crunch and freshness to the meal, and can also help to cut through the richness of the crab cakes. Consider topping the salad with a light vinaigrette dressing or a creamy herb dressing for a delicious flavor combination.
Are there any sides to avoid when serving crab cakes?
While there’s no hard and fast rule about what you should or shouldn’t serve with crab cakes, there are a few dishes that may not pair as well with the flavors and textures of the crab. Avoid serving heavy or starchy sides such as mac and cheese or loaded fries, as these may overpower the delicate flavor of the crab cakes. Additionally, be cautious of sides that are too spicy or acidic, as they may clash with the flavors of the crab.