CRAB CAKES

I LOVE CRAB CAKES, BUT RARELY ORDER THEM IN RESTAURANTS.  NOR HAVE I MADE THEM MYSELF.  UNTIL WEDNESDAY.  CRAB CAKES ARE TRICKY.  IF THE PATTIES ARE TOO DENSE, THEY HAVE THE TEXTURE OF TOUGH MEATBALLS;  TOO LOOSELY PACKED, THEY FALL APART IN THE PAN.  AS IS MY PRACTICE WHEN I'M ATTEMPTING SOMETHING NEW, I READ A BUNCH OF RECIPES MOST OF WHICH SHARED COMMON INGREDIENTS -- ONIONS OR SCALLIONS, EGG, MAYONNAISE, BREADCRUMBS, VARIOUS HERBS AND SEASONINGS.  THE BEST CRAB CAKES I'VE EVER EATEN, HOWEVER, WERE AT SUZANNE TRACHT'S JAR IN WEST HOLLYWOOD.  THEY WERE FIRM BUT LIGHT AND DISTINCTLY CRABBY.  WHEN I ASKED SUZANNE THE SECRET, SHE SAID, "SHRIMP'.  MORE SPECIFICALLY, LITTLE CHUNKS OF COOKED SHRIMP WHICH KEEP THE MIXTURE FROM BECOMING TOO DENSE.  AND GUESS WHAT?  IT WORKED.  MY CRAB CAKES WHICH I SERVED FOR SOPHIE'S BIRTHDAY DINNER WERE WEIGHTY BUT LIGHT, CRABBY AND CRUNCHY.  SINCE SUZANNE TRACHT SO GENEROUSLY SHARED HER SECRET WITH ME, SHOULDN'T I PASS ON THAT SECRET TO YOU?    

 1 lb LUMP CRAB MEAT
 8 MEDIUM SHELLED SHRIMP
 3 SCALLIONS
 1 GARLIC CLOVE
 ¼ cup MAYONNAISE
 1 EGG
 2 tbsp WHOLE GRAIN MUSTARD
 1 LEMON
 2 tbsp HOME MADE BREAD CRUMBS
 ½ cup PARSLEY AND/OR CILANTRO, TARRAGON, DILL, CHIVES
 ¼ tsp CAYENNE PEPPER
 ¼ tsp ESPELETTE (SMOKED) PEPPER
 1 cup HOME MADE BREADCRUMBS FOR SAUTÉING CRAB CAKES
1

TRIM AND FINELY CHOP THE SCALLIONS AND THE GARLIC.

CUT UP THE SHRIMP INTO 1/8 INCH PIECES.

HEAT A SPLASH OF OLIVE OIL IN A SMALL SAUCEPAN. ADD THE SHRIMP, THEN THE SCALLIONS AND GARLIC. COOK ON A LOW FLAME TILL THE SHRIMP TURNS PINK AND THE SCALLIONS SOFTEN. DO NOT BROWN.

PUT THE CRAB MEAT AND SHRIMP MIXTURE IN A LARGE BOWL.

LIGHTLY BEAT THE EGG IN A BOWL.

FINELY CHOP THE FRESH HERBS.

GRATE THE SKIN FROM THE LEMON WITH A GRATER OR MICROPLANE.

ADD THE EGG, HERBS, LEMON ZEST AND ALL THE REMAINING INGREDIENTS TO THE BOWL WITH THE CRAB MEAT. SEASON WITH SALT AND PEPPER. MIX TOGETHER WITH YOUR HANDS SO EVERYTHING IS WELL-BLENDED. FORM INTO PATTIES ABOUT 3 INCHES IN DIAMETER AND AN INCH THICK -- LIKE A SMALL HAMBURGER. IF THE MIXTURE IS TOO LOOSE, ADD MORE BREADCRUMBS. IF IT'S TOO CRUMBLY, ADD A FEW TBSPS OF LEMON JUICE.

ARRANGE ON A PLATE. COVER LIGHTLY WITH PLASTIC WRAP AND CHILL IN THE REFRIGERATOR FOR AT LEAST AN HOUR. THIS WILL SOLIDIFY THE CRAB CAKES SO THEY HOLD TOGETHER WHEN YOU COOK THEM.

POUR ABOUT A CUP OF BREADCRUMBS ON A DINNER PLATE. MELT 3 TBSPS OF BUTTER AND A GENEROUS SPLASH OF VEGETABLE OIL (CANOLA, GRAPE SEED, PEANUT) IN A LARGE FRYING PAN.

WHEN THE BUTTER STOPS FOAMING, REDUCE THE HEAT TO MEDIUM-LOW. ONE AT A TIME, GENTLY PLACE THE CRAB CAKES ON THE PLATE WITH THE BREAD CRUMBS. SCATTER MORE BREADCRUMBS ON TOP SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO TURN THEM OVER.

PLACE IN THE PAN AND COOK ABOUT 6 MINUTES PER SIDE TILL THE CRAB CAKES ARE NICELY BROWNED, THEN GENTLY, GENTLY TURN THEM OVER USING A SPATULA AND A SPOON. COOK UNTIL BROWNED ON THE SECOND SIDE, THEN DISTRIBUTE ON INDIVIDUAL PLATES.

AS YOU CAN SEE IN THE PHOTOS, I SERVED THE CRAB CAKES IN POOL OF LEMON BUERRE BLANC FOR DINNER. FOR LUNCH THE FOLLOWING DAY I ACCOMPANIED THEM WITH CRÊME FRAÎCHE, SMOKED SALMON AND CHIVES.

Ingredients

 1 lb LUMP CRAB MEAT
 8 MEDIUM SHELLED SHRIMP
 3 SCALLIONS
 1 GARLIC CLOVE
 ¼ cup MAYONNAISE
 1 EGG
 2 tbsp WHOLE GRAIN MUSTARD
 1 LEMON
 2 tbsp HOME MADE BREAD CRUMBS
 ½ cup PARSLEY AND/OR CILANTRO, TARRAGON, DILL, CHIVES
 ¼ tsp CAYENNE PEPPER
 ¼ tsp ESPELETTE (SMOKED) PEPPER
 1 cup HOME MADE BREADCRUMBS FOR SAUTÉING CRAB CAKES

Directions

1

TRIM AND FINELY CHOP THE SCALLIONS AND THE GARLIC.

CUT UP THE SHRIMP INTO 1/8 INCH PIECES.

HEAT A SPLASH OF OLIVE OIL IN A SMALL SAUCEPAN. ADD THE SHRIMP, THEN THE SCALLIONS AND GARLIC. COOK ON A LOW FLAME TILL THE SHRIMP TURNS PINK AND THE SCALLIONS SOFTEN. DO NOT BROWN.

PUT THE CRAB MEAT AND SHRIMP MIXTURE IN A LARGE BOWL.

LIGHTLY BEAT THE EGG IN A BOWL.

FINELY CHOP THE FRESH HERBS.

GRATE THE SKIN FROM THE LEMON WITH A GRATER OR MICROPLANE.

ADD THE EGG, HERBS, LEMON ZEST AND ALL THE REMAINING INGREDIENTS TO THE BOWL WITH THE CRAB MEAT. SEASON WITH SALT AND PEPPER. MIX TOGETHER WITH YOUR HANDS SO EVERYTHING IS WELL-BLENDED. FORM INTO PATTIES ABOUT 3 INCHES IN DIAMETER AND AN INCH THICK -- LIKE A SMALL HAMBURGER. IF THE MIXTURE IS TOO LOOSE, ADD MORE BREADCRUMBS. IF IT'S TOO CRUMBLY, ADD A FEW TBSPS OF LEMON JUICE.

ARRANGE ON A PLATE. COVER LIGHTLY WITH PLASTIC WRAP AND CHILL IN THE REFRIGERATOR FOR AT LEAST AN HOUR. THIS WILL SOLIDIFY THE CRAB CAKES SO THEY HOLD TOGETHER WHEN YOU COOK THEM.

POUR ABOUT A CUP OF BREADCRUMBS ON A DINNER PLATE. MELT 3 TBSPS OF BUTTER AND A GENEROUS SPLASH OF VEGETABLE OIL (CANOLA, GRAPE SEED, PEANUT) IN A LARGE FRYING PAN.

WHEN THE BUTTER STOPS FOAMING, REDUCE THE HEAT TO MEDIUM-LOW. ONE AT A TIME, GENTLY PLACE THE CRAB CAKES ON THE PLATE WITH THE BREAD CRUMBS. SCATTER MORE BREADCRUMBS ON TOP SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO TURN THEM OVER.

PLACE IN THE PAN AND COOK ABOUT 6 MINUTES PER SIDE TILL THE CRAB CAKES ARE NICELY BROWNED, THEN GENTLY, GENTLY TURN THEM OVER USING A SPATULA AND A SPOON. COOK UNTIL BROWNED ON THE SECOND SIDE, THEN DISTRIBUTE ON INDIVIDUAL PLATES.

AS YOU CAN SEE IN THE PHOTOS, I SERVED THE CRAB CAKES IN POOL OF LEMON BUERRE BLANC FOR DINNER. FOR LUNCH THE FOLLOWING DAY I ACCOMPANIED THEM WITH CRÊME FRAÎCHE, SMOKED SALMON AND CHIVES.

CRAB CAKES
Share

One thought on “CRAB CAKES

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.