Pack the fennel into a large jar. Add the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and peppercorns. Seal the jar and give it a good shake. Set aside to pickle for 3 hours at room temperature or in the fridge overnight.
½ head fennel, 1 cup white vinegar, 1 cup water, 1 tbsp granulated sugar, ½ tsp kosher salt, 12-14 black peppercorns
For the Old Bay Mayo
Place all of the ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
½ cup mayo, 1 clove garlic, 2 tsp lemon juice, ½ tsp Old Bay
For the Crab Cakes
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
Place the mayo, egg, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and Old Bay in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the crab meat, crackers, and parsley. Stir to combine. Cover and let chill for 30 minutes.
¼ cup mayo, 1 large egg, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp Old Bay
Divide the chilled crab mixture into four patties and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle the cakes with the butter and transfer them to the oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.
2 tbsp unsalted butter
For the Crab Cake Patty Melts
Turn on the broiler. Place a slice of Jarlsberg on each crab cake and return them to the oven. Broil until the cheese melts, about a minute or two.
4 slices Jarlsberg cheese, 1 batch Crab Cakes
Spread the Old Bay mayo on the slices of rye. Top the bottom slices with a pile of the pickled fennel. Add the crab cake and top with a few leaves of green lettuce and a couple of wedges of avocado. Place the remaining slice of rye on top and serve immediately.
1 batch Pickled Fennel, 8 slices light rye bread, 1 head green lettuce, 1 avocado
** This sandwich has a lot going on so you don't necessarily have to break the bank when it comes to the quality of crab meat you choose. I would advise against canned. Go for frozen or refrigerated options that have not been pasteurized.
Keyword crab, crab cakes, fennel, mayo, Old Bay, rye bread