Quarter-Life Coaching: Sarah & Evan’s Perfect Crab Cakes

EVENT: Sarah & Evan Give BGSK a Lesson in Crab Cakes

VENUE: Sarah’s Apartment, Lower East Side

MENU: Perfect Mini Crab Cakes with Chipotle Mayo and Corn-Pepper Relish; Lobster Rolls on Brioche; Squash Slivers with Truffle Salt and Lemon; Coronas; Mark Bittman’s Tofu Chocolate Pudding (chili powder omitted)

The first meal I ate with Sarah and Evan as an almost-couple was at Spitzer’s Corner, after we’d all been to hear Colson Whitehead read from Sag Harbor at McNally Jackson. When Evan was down for sharing the mac & cheese with Sarah, me, and Sarah’s friend Casey, Casey and I looked at each other: we knew he was a good egg.

Though Phoebe and I would prefer to take full credit for Sarah’s ascent into cooking, we know we can’t. But then again, if we have to share responsibility with anyone, we’re fine with that “anyone” being Evan. The two of them cook together quite often, a habit cemented during a recent trip to Florida and a night spent cooking Middleastern food with one of Evan’s chef-y friends. Then, on an evening just before New Year’s, for which Sarah and I were co-hosting a party, I ran into a mutual friend who told me Sarah and Evan had declined to go out, instead staying at home to test out crab cakes for New Year’s Eve. This made me very happy, and I repeated to myself, then to Phoebe, that Evan was awesome. It shouldn’t have been a surprise. Sarah, a stylist and co-author of the adorable fashion, art, and lifestyle blog The Gamine, has impeccable taste.
I don’t know if I’m right to do so, but I’d also like to consider Sarah’s cooking through the lens of one infamous email chain entitled “Dinner” and begun on August 19th, 2008. Jocelyn had written a note to our big group of girls from high school about getting together. Phoebe, in true BGSK fashion, suggested a potluck dinner at her place, which went over well, but it was her next email that caused real controversy. This was before we knew about the Potluck ESP Phenomenon, and she tried to assign dishes for everyone to bring, since, she wrote: “there always is too much food and not enough wine.”
After committing a number of us to meat/veggies/carb/dessert contributions, she wrote: “Wine: Sarah (sorry, I love you), Sam, Jessy, Jocelyn, Sami, Jor.” The wine bringers took their assignment personally, in spite of my attempt to call them “highly cultured oenophiles,” and all hell almost broke loose until it was averted by us gathering at Phoebe’s for a dinner abundant in both food and wine, and so abundant in cake that leftovers of it were put–and remain–in Phoebe’s freezer.

But maybe Sarah took it all as a challenge, and after that, she seemed to get really into baking, bringing delicious, buttery sweets to most of our get-togethers even when Memorial Day was approaching and I begged her not to. Baking, like any other gateway drug, paved the way for slippage into more intense use–and soon Sarah was sauteing and roasting and making pizzas and casseroles.

It was the New Year’s Eve crab cakes, in the end, that stood out to us, and that made us invite ourselves over to be fed by Sarah and Evan once more. In these heady pre-Valentine’s Day days, we wanted to feature them on the blog not just as a cute couple, but as a couple who have really embraced cooking and entertaining in the same way we have: as something fun and productive to do, and as the best possible way of spending time with one another.

coffee table dining–the only way we like to eat

From Evan & Sarah’s kitchen, where we are lucky enough to eat crab cakes followed by lobster rolls, to yours,



Mini Crab Cakes with Chipotle Mayo and Corn-Pepper Relish

Makes about 16 mini crab cakes

Evan and Sarah are in the midst of a love affair with their Cuisinart food processor, which Evan received for Hanukah. They used it to perfect the texture of these crab cakes, which are not diluted with very many breadcrumbs. Instead, some of the crab meat is shredded quite finely, which helps the cakes stay together and remain as crabby as possible.

1lb jumbo lump crab meat
1 egg, beaten
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 dash Tabasco sauce
½ lemon, juiced
½ cup finely crushed saltines (in a food processor)

Roughly chop the crab meat. Reserve half in a medium mixing bowl. In a small food processor, pulse the other half of the crab meat until it becomes shredded. Remove half of that meat and add it to the mixing bowl. With the remaining ¼, pulse again until the meat is very finely shredded and almost a paste. This will act as a binder for the cakes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, mayo, mustard, Worcestershire, Tabasco, and lemon juice. Add this to the crab mixture and toss gently with your hands until combined.

Add some of the crushed saltines slowly and gently mix until it begins to come together. You may not need all of the saltines, so test out the crab cakes for texture as you go.

Form the crab mixture into small, 1-inch cakes. Coat a large skillet with oil, and fry the cakes over medium-high heat until brown and crispy. Serve alongside chipotle mayo and corn-pepper relish (recipes follow).

Chipotle Mayo

½ cup mayonnaise
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce
1 tbsp adobo sauce (from the can)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lime, juiced

Puree the ingredients in a small food processor. This can be done up to a week in advance and kept refrigerated. Place in a small bowl or ramekin for dipping.

Corn & Pepper Relish

2 cups corn kernels
2 cups diced peppers (green, red, or orange)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp olive oil
chili powder (optional)

Combine all ingredients for the relish in a small mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Lobster Salad on Toasted Challah Rolls
Makes 4 servings

1 lb lobster meat
2 tsp chopped scallion (green parts only)
½ tsp chopped fresh tarragon
1 tsp chopped chives
1 ½ stalks celery, chopped
2 tsp minced shallots
½ cup mayonnaise
1 ½ lemons, juiced
2 challah rolls, toasted (brioche would work as well)

Roughly chop the lobster meat into bite-sized pieces. Reserve half in a medium mixing bowl. In a small food processor, pulse the other half of the lobster meat until it becomes shredded. Remove half of the meat and add it to the mixing bowl. With the remaining ¼, pulse again until the meat is very finely shredded and almost a paste. This will act as a binder for the salad.

Add the scallion, tarragon, chives, celery, and shallots to the lobster mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and lemon juice. Using your hands, toss the lobster mixture together with some of the mayo mixture (best done with two sets of hands on deck). Add as much of the mayo as you like until you reach your desired consistency—Sarah and Evan prefer it to be just lightly dressed. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Top each roll with a large spoonful of lobster salad and serve.

Cara’s dessert bowl. Licked clean.


  1. These sound incredible, I love lobster rolls, and I especially like the addition of a bit of spice. Sarah, I never doubted your abilities–your tofu last Memorial day (?) was delicious!

  2. Great post! And I would like to think I am not longer a wine bringer as well, much in part to BGSK. Superbowl night included my own version of your baked al forno dish. Needless to say it was gone in about 5 minutes. I was delicious!

  3. Sounds amazing! And thanks for the shout-out! I have not had one bite to eat today and this article just made me drool a little…or a lot

  4. This is adorable!! Evan and Sarah are both such talented cooks and totally deserved a personalized write up from BGSK!

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