08 May 2010

Feasting on Crab Cakes


Feasting on Crabs

When we lived in Virginia our neighborhood had a scheduled set of planned events. One of those events was an annual Crab Feast. This feast consisted of gathering around a picnic table behind the nearby VFW building. On top of this picnic table we would spread thick layers of old newspapers. Someone would get several huge pots of water boiling over outdoor burners then methodically prepare crates full of blue crabs by dumping them into the water for a short while then piling them on the table.

We would take crab after crab from this pile, pull it apart, pound the legs with a mallet and sift through the shell to come up with delicate little morsels of delicious meat. We would do this until we were tired, not full mind you but tired, and then we would cede our place at the table to another guest.

I enjoyed our annual neighborhood Crab Feast but I learned that while it was fun to join in and eat piles of those tasty little blue crabs it was not really a satisfying dinner without a lot of accompaniments. A significant quantity of crab meat was just too hard to remove from the shells. After savoring a few delicious bites I was ready to give up the fight. It seemed to me more calories were consumed in releasing the meat from its shell than the flavorful bits themselves provided in nutritional value.

A Crab by Any Other Name

Blue crabs are great but one thing I gained in Virginia was a perspective that allowed me a sweet appreciation of one of the Pacific Northwest’s greatest attributes: the ready availability of Dungeness Crab. Crab is still absolutely one of my favorite flavors and Dungeness crabs provide that savory meat in significant enough quantity to make digging out the meat a wholly satisfying endeavor.

Eating crabs can be a messy business if you cook them fresh. Even if they are pre-cleaned securing the meat from the legs and claws takes time, skill and effort. If cracking shells and digging for crab meat is not your style you can always opt for the purchase of shelled crab meat either claw meat or lump crab meat from the body of the crab. This meat can be used in any number of delicious recipes.

A Favorite

Perhaps my favorite way to eat crab meat is to shape it into patties or Crab Cakes. Though I love to eat them and have served them for many a special Valentine’s Day or birthday dinner, I have never made the Crab Cakes myself until recently. Finding that my favorite crab cakes were no longer available in the seafood section of my local market I decided to try putting them together myself. I’m so glad I did.

These Crab Cakes live up to the name of "The Best Crab Cakes" recipe I based them on. They are actually quite easy to put together and taste fantastic. They have a nice thin crunch to the crust and an exquisite tangy soft savor to each bite. Despite the addition of a small amount of mayonnaise (an ingredient I normally avoid) I adored these Crab Cakes. Try them. I think you will too!


Crab Cakes
adapted slightly from The Best Crab Cakes at teriskitchen.com

Makes about 7 Crab Cakes. Can be easily doubled.

1 lb crab meat ( I used the whole crab, lump and claw meat)
1½ Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
2 eggs
1½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
¾ cup white bread crumbs
Panko crumbs (for dredging)
Butter and olive oil (for frying)

Saute onion in 1½ Tablespoons butter until soft.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, mustard, pepper, salt and mayonnaise.

Add the sauteed onions, white bread crumbs and crab meat. Mix until combined.

Form Crab Cake patties using 1/3 cup of the mixture for each cake. Dredge in Panko crumbs and arrange on a baking sheet.

Place the baking sheet filled with crab cake patties in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before frying.

When ready to cook:

Heat 1 Tablespoon of butter and 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Place crab cakes in the hot oil and cook over medium heat until golden brown, approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side. (I cook them in two batches adding more butter and oil for the second batch as needed.)

Serve on toasted buns or on a bed of lettuce topped with cocktail sauce, Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, or garnished with lemon wedges.

Enjoy!

9 comments:

grace said...

yes, crab cakes are definitely the neater way to go! i'm totally anti-mayo, so i can appreciate the limited amount.
incidentally, how did being 'crabby' become known as a bad thing? :)

NYC, Style and a little Cannoli said...

I just loove crab cakes! And the best are the homemade ones. We make a bunch and freeze them and then take out when we want to cook. Sometimes the restaurants have too much filler and not enough crab. Great and yummy post!!

http://nycstylecannoli.blogspot.com/

Cathy said...

I'm always up for trying a new crab cake recipe and this one looks fantastic.

Bellini Valli said...

I buy good quality crab meat from my local fishmonger to save time. I made a version of eggs benedict with crab cakes...I love tyhem all different ways.

June said...

Great post Lisa! Wow, these look fabulous and I love that there's not a lot of bread crumbs in them. My first Dungeness ever was eaten as a picnic at Short Sands Beach outside of Nehalem before the big guy and I were married. I had no idea what to do, so the big guy picked the meat as I cried over the beautiful view. LOL

Jenny said...

I didn't knew that crab cakes are soooo veryy delicious, I just tried it now.

YOUR RECIPE IS GREAT!

Cindy said...

Those look delicious! Must try this recipe (right after I drop ten pounds)...

dining room sets said...

This is a family favorite! We like it more when we are the ones who make it and not the ones that we buy in groceries.

Sarah from 20somethingcupcakes said...

Crabcakes are one of those things that are so easy but look and feel so special. We are on the same wavelength - love the blog! xxSAS