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Easy dinner recipes: Best ever crab cakes? Check out these ideas

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Crab cakes, anyone? Who doesn't love these tempting treats? It's almost pointless ordering a main course at a restaurant when you can make a meal off of an appetizer plate of these delights. And they're just as easy to make at home, coming together -- start to finish -- in about an hour or less. Check out these options:

For Maryland-style crab cakes, look no further than Oceanaire Seafood Room's generously sized cakes. They're baked, not fried, making each bite tender and soft. Best of all? They can be assembled a few hours ahead of time and refrigerated, then baked before serving. Perfect after a long day, or if you're planning for company.

The light, crisp crab cakes from Traxx restaurant in Los Angeles are big on flavor and size. Large chunks of crabmeat are gently folded into a colorful mix of diced red onion, parsley, cilantro and minced sourdough with more than a hint of spice thrown in for added kick.

RECIPES: 99 easy dinner ideas in about an hour or less

Or throw a little Asian fusion into the mix. Red curry paste, cilantro and fresh ginger flavor Wild Ginger's crab cakes, bound only with eggs -- no bread filler needed here. Light with a crisp panko crust, they're served with a bright and spicy lime dipping sauce. Hungry yet?

You can find all three recipes below.

And for more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below or email me at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

THE OCEANAIRE SEAFOOD ROOM'S MARYLAND-STYLE CRAB CAKES

Total time: 40 minutes

Servings: Makes 8 (4-ounce) crab cakes

Note: Adapted from the Oceanaire Seafood Room. The restaurant recommends serving the cakes with mustard mayonnaise (mayonnaise seasoned with a small amount of dry mustard, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and salt and thinned with a little cream) or tartar sauce.

2 eggs

1 cup mayonnaise

3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 1/4 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning, divided

3/4 teaspoon fresh chopped tarragon

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 tablespoon finely chopped celery

1/4 pound (scant 2 cups) crustless cubed white bread (about 1/4 loaf), cut into small cubes

1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, drained of any liquid

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, three-fourths teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning, tarragon, onion and celery to make a dressing.

3. In a large mixing bowl, toss the bread with half of the dressing, mixing until the dressing is absorbed by the bread and the cubes are slightly broken up. Add additional dressing if the cubes are too dry.

4. Gently mix in the crab, being careful not to break up the lump pieces. The mixture should hold its shape when formed into a ball with your hand. If it is too dry, add additional dressing until the mixture comes together. You might not use all of the dressing.

5. Divide the mixture and form into 8 crab cakes. Place the cakes on a greased cookie sheet or sheet pan.

6. In a small bowl, stir the butter together with the remaining one-half teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning. Top each cake with a small dollop of the seasoned butter.

7. Bake the cakes until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Serve warm.

Each crab cake: 231 calories; 14 grams protein; 8 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 16 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 100 mg. cholesterol; 1 gram sugar; 360 mg. sodium.

TRAXX CRAB CAKES

Total time: 30 minutes

Servings: 5

Note: Adapted from Traxx restaurant in L.A. The restaurant serves these with a chipotle mayonnaise.

2 eggs

1 tablespoon seeded and minced jalapeño

1/4 cup minced red onion

1 1/2 cups minced sourdough bread (about 2 slices)

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning

1 teaspoon minced cilantro

2 teaspoons minced parsley

1/2 teaspoon whole grain Dijon mustard

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, picked and cleaned

Butter and olive oil for frying

1. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then add the jalapeño, red onion, sourdough bread, mayonnaise, Old Bay, cilantro, parsley, mustard and panko. Gently fold in the crab until combined.

2. Form the mixture into 10 crab cakes. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Melt a half-tablespoon each butter and olive oil in the pan, then fry the crab cakes, two at a time, until golden on each side, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Place the crab cakes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and continue to fry the remaining cakes, adding additional butter and oil as necessary.

4. When all the cakes are fried, place the sheet pan in the oven and bake the cakes at 350 degrees until set in the center and slightly firm to the touch, about 8 minutes. Serve immediately.

Each serving: 268 calories; 20 grams protein; 10 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 15 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 172 mg. cholesterol; 460 mg. sodium.

WILD GINGER'S DUNGENESS CRAB CAKES WITH LIME DIPPING SAUCE

Total time: About 35 minutes, plus 30 minutes chilling time

Servings: 8

Note: Adapted from "I Love Crab Cakes!" by Tom Douglas with Shelley Lance. Curry paste and sambal oelek, a ground chile paste, can be found in Asian markets and well-stocked supermarkets.

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon Southeast Asian red curry paste

2 green onions, white part only, minced

2 tablespoons minced shallots

1 1/2 tablespoons minced cilantro stems

1 1/2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh ginger

1 pound Dungeness crab meat, drained, picked clean of shell and lightly squeezed if wet

2 cups panko bread crumbs

3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons sambal oelek

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh dill

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh mint

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh Thai or regular basil

Peanut or canola oil for frying

1. For the crab cakes, whisk the eggs lightly in a large mixing bowl. Add the curry paste and whisk until completely blended. Using a rubber spatula, mix in the green onions, shallots, cilantro and ginger. When everything is well combined, gently stir in the crab meat and mix well.

2. Spread 1 1/2 cups panko in a wide shallow container. Divide the crab mixture into 8 mounds and gently squeeze out any excess liquid. Shape the crab mixture into patties, laying them in the panko. Sprinkle as much of the remaining panko as needed to cover the tops. Cover the crab cakes with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes (these do not sit well overnight).

3. For the dipping sauce, combine 2 tablespoons of water with the fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, sambal oelek, garlic, dill, mint and basil in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside.

4. Place 2 large nonstick or cast-iron skillets (or use one pan and cook in batches) over medium-high heat and pour in enough oil to coat the bottom of the pans by about one-eighth inch. When the oil is hot, shake the excess panko from the crab cakes, add 4 to each pan and reduce the heat to medium. Fry until the cakes are golden brown and heated through, turning once with a spatula to brown both sides, 3 to 5 minutes on a side. Reduce the heat as needed so they don't brown too quickly.

5. Drain on paper towels and serve with the dipping sauce.

Each serving: 249 calories; 15 grams protein; 9 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 17 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 96 mg. cholesterol; 798 mg. sodium.

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