Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Crab Cakes

I am a huge fan of a good crab cake but the problem is they often don't live up to my expectations.  I am very cautious when ordering them in a restaurant unless I have a first hand recommendation from someone I know well.  A fishy tasting, dry crab cake is just not a fun thing to eat.  I am in heaven, however, when I find a good one.  I have had the same problem with trying to make them at home for a couple of reasons.  The first issue is with the crab meat which must be impeccably fresh (grocery store containers haven't cut it until now).  The crab meat I used tonight was from Central Market which I bought on June 29 (our anniversary).  I had used a little bit of it that night and stuck the rest in the freezer.  Imagine my delight when I realized this crab meat was just as delicious as the first night we had some.  The other key to a good crab cake is the binding ingredients and this recipe was just right.  It had the usual breadcrumbs and green specks of scallions and parsley, but it was held together by a mixture of heavy cream and eggs.  It might sound unusual, but trust me, it worked.

I served these with what we call "Pink Sauce" which is a combination of mayonnaise and chili sauce mixed together.  We often used this as a dipping sauce for vegetables as well.  I also served the rest of the French green beans that I had made the night before.

Crab Cakes
Makes 4 servings

3-4 slices French or Italian bread
Panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup green onions, minced
1 pound fresh lump crabmeat
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 eggs
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Lemon wedges for serving

Remove the crusts from the bread and discard.  Cut or tear the bread into small pieces and put into a food processor fitted with the metal blade or into a blender.  Pulse a few times to make coarse crumbs.  Measure breadcrumbs and add enough Panko breadcrumbs if necessary to total 2 cups of bread crumbs.

In a small saute pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter.  Add the green onions and saute until softened, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the onions to the breadcrumbs along with the crab meat and parsley.  Mix well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the cream and eggs until well blended.  Whisk in the lemon juice, mustard, salt and cayenne pepper.  Slowly add to the crab mixture, stirring continuously so the breadcrumbs are evenly moistened.  Gently form into 8 or 9 oval or round cakes about 1 inch thick (I used a 1/3 cup measuring cup and liked the size of these cakes).  Put the flour on a plate or on a piece of waxed paper.  Lightly and evenly coat each crab cake with the flour, shaking off the excess.

In a large saute pan or fry pan over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter with 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil.  When hot, fry the first batch of cakes, turning once, until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side.  Repeat procedure with remaining butter and oil to fry remaining cakes.  Transfer to a warmed plate and keep warm until all the cakes are cooked.  Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Slightly adapted from Annie's Eats

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