Crab Cake Linguini

I don’t know how to eat crab.

Don’t get me wrong, I love crab. I often order it at restaurants (see: King Crab at Waypoint, Harvard SquareSpaghetti with Blue Crab at Ai Fiori, NYC) and make it at home (see: Avocado and Crab Crostini, Squid Ink Spaghetti with Buttered Crab and Gremolata Breadcrumbs)

But what I mean is: I don’t know how to shell crab, pick and eat the meat, open the claws, you know – the whole show. And really, what I mean is: I’m too lazy.

Because my mom does it for me.

That’s right. Yes, I’m in my thirties and my mom still cracks open crabs and picks crab meat for me. Yes, I’m a foodie/food blogger/seafood lover and I manage to avoid doing it myself. Yes, I can figure it out, I just don’t want to. What’s that? Don’t I live oceans away from my mom in the Philippines? Yes, that is correct, which means I only eat crab fresh from its shell when we are together.

It’s silly, I know. But there’s a story to it (isn’t there always a story?) When I was in my teens, I was diagnosed as having low levels of iron, and the doctor recommended that I eat more seafood. Back then, I hated seafood. All I wanted to eat was pizza, pasta, hotdogs, and fried chicken (yum). So my parents “forced” me to eat seafood, including all the fresh shellfish from our island country. And because I was a lazy little eater, my mom would make it easy for me to eat: peel the shrimp, debone the fish, pick the crab meat. All for me. And I gobbled it allllll up.

Two decades later and I’ve absorbed my mom’s love for seafood. Now I’m the girl who orders the hamachi kama (yellowtail collar) or the salmon head, and picks at the meat and fish cheeks. I’m the girl who can deftly peel shrimp with a knife and fork (or spoon and fork, Filipino-style). I’m the girl who’ll eat sushi bowls for breakfast. I’m the girl who doesn’t want to eat fresh crab without her mom.

I’m also the girl who orders crab cakes whenever she can. Like my mom, I can never turn down a good crab cake. We always get it as appetizers, or stock up at home with pre-made ones from the grocery store.

I’m working with Gorton’s Seafood (check out these Crunchy Fish Tacos with Spicy Purple Slaw) and I wanted to try their Maryland Style Crab Cakes. The crab cakes are made with real crabmeat, sweet and succulent. They’re perfect in a spicy, garlicky pasta, slick with olive oil and flavored with the taste of the oeean, courtesy of salty anchovies.

Anchovies are another thing I learned to love because of my mom. Like her, I always order it with my pizza. Same with almond pastries. And a growing love for antiques. As I grow older, I’m learning that I’m becoming more and more like her. That makes me incredibly happy.

In two months, I’ll be marrying the love of my life, and I’m looking to my mom for a lot of wedding inspiration. Like her, I’m planning to wear a flower comb in my hair. I’ll be wearing her jewelry. I’ll be wearing a dress that looks likes it can belong in the seventies. And I’ll be smiling wide because she’ll be there and has always been there for me.

And maybe we’ll serve crab cakes at our wedding reception.

If you’re looking for an easy but special meal, I hope you try my recipe for Crab Cake Linguini, using Gorton’s Maryland Style Crab Cakes:

Yield: serves 4

Crab Cake Linguini

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes


1 lb linguini
4 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tin (2 oz) anchovies
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper chili flakes
2 boxes Gorton's Maryland Style Crab Cakes (4 crab cakes total)
juice and zest of hakf a lemon
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot, cook linguini according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. Rinse pasta with cool water; set aside.
  2. While pasta is cooking, make the crab cakes. Cook according to package instructions. I used my oven (but you can also cook on a stovetop) and flipped the crab cakes after 15 minutes, baking for a total 22 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, anchovies, and red pepper flakes. Break up the anchovies with a wooden spoon until they melt into the oil and garlic mixture.
  4. Add cooked pasta to pan, and toss.
  5. Break up two of the crab cakes and add to pan. Add chopped parsley, reserving about a tablespoon for garnish. Mix well. Turn off heat. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over pasta, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Plate pasta and top with remaining crab cakes. Garnish with lemon zest, more fresh ground pepper, and remaining parsley. (I also added more chili pepper flakes.) Serve immediately.

You can also break up all four crab cakes and mix with the linguini (instead of reserving two whole ones to serve on top) to get a more even distribution.

Thank you, Mommy, for helping me eat all the crab, and for everything you do for me.

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and all the moms out there!

If you’d like to read my Mother’s Day posts from previous years, they’re all here: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.

This post was sponsored by Gorton’s Seafood. Thank you for supporting Confessions of a Chocoholic and the brands that support this blog.


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