Chef Pilon’s Crab Cakes

We were in a restaurant in Tofino and I tried these cakes. They were so fabulous I asked the Chef if he would share. Guess what? Here is the recipe I asked Chef Pilon for. With his permission, I give it to you here. These have to be the very best you will ever have. Looks a little frightening but it isn’t. It is well worth the effort.


  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp each of fresh parsley, dill and chervil
  • 1 tsp. of both Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste and briskly whisk



  • 1 finely chopped shallot
  • 5 x 1/2 inch slices of whole leek (white part only) chopped fine
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small stick of celery (peeled), minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Enough Brandy to deglaze the fry pan


Saute the above with 1 tsp. each butter and extra-virgin olive oil. Finally, deglaze with a little Brandy and remove from heat and let cool.

Crab Cake Mixture:

  • 1 lb. can of crab claws and bodies
  • 1 lb. peeled, cleaned and freshly steamed shrimp.
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs (not bread crumbs)
  • 2 large eggs


Once the shrimp are steamed, cool them down and medium chop. Add this mixture to both the first and second (now cooled down) mixes.

Line baking sheet with waxed paper. Mix the above ingredients gently making sure to break up the crab meat slightly. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Place an additional 1/2 cup panko crumbs on baking sheet and spread evenly.

For crab mixture, using 1/4 measure cup and form into a small patty. Press both sides of the patty in the crumbs. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Melt 1 tbsp (15ml) and 1 tbsp (15ml) extra virgin olive oiling each of two large fry pans over medium heat.

Press both sides of the patty into the panko crumbs to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Add 1 tbsp. butter and 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil in each of two large fry pans over a medium high heat. Add crab cakes to skillet and cook until golden brown on both sides (about 5 minutes total).

Arrange 2 crab cakes on a plate and top with a mixture of 1 tbsp. mayo, Dijon mustard and cayenne.

The texture is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.


You could just put them on a plate and leave it at that. To move the scale up a notch, place one cake in the middle of your serving plate. Arrange the second one leaning up against the edge of the first cake and drizzle the sauce over the top. Add a sprig of parsley on the side with a thin slice of lemon partially covering the parsley. At any discount store you can find long, thin, forks used for seafood; put these out and voila! It is very impressive.


Panko crumbs are Japanese bread crumbs and we buy them in a bag. Your grocer may have them in a box. If you can’t find them, go to a small Asian grocery store. They truly make the difference both in flavour and texture.


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