Born and raised on a farm in Canada about 800 miles as the crow flies to the Atlantic and 2,000 miles to the Pacific, crab wasn't something we ate on a regular basis. In fact until I knew better I automatically thought "canned" when the word was mentioned. That all changed when I met Big Guy.
Our first picnic together was on the Oregon Coast at Short Sand Beach and lovely fresh Dungeness crab, a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine were on the menu. Trouble was I'd never picked the meat out of a crab before and not wanting to look like an idiot, I didn't have the heart to tell my man I didn't know what to do with his gift from the sea. I just told him I wasn't hungry and handed it all over to him.
Well after 13 years of marriage I guess I don't mind looking stupid so I leave the crab catching and picking entirely to him. After all we're a team so last night he harvested the meat out of two lovely crustaceans he caught and I whipped up these spicy crab cakes for dinner.
From Legal Sea Foods Cookbook, this recipe's a real standout and includes dry mustard, Dijon, hot pepper sauce, worcestershire, Old Bay seasoning and horseradish along with mayonnaise and an egg as binders. I know you'd think all the spices would hide the sweetness of the crab, but not so. I coated these beauties in a little panko and fried them first, before finishing the warming process in a hot oven. Perched on top of dressed up mixed greens, the cakes made for a perfect light dinner.
Incidentally, the trick to making good crab cakes is to use a minimal amount of saltine cracker crumbs as an extender and be sure to leave the crab in large chunks if at all possible. Also, use a light hand when forming the cakes and be sure to let them mellow in the refrigerator for a good hour before they're cooked. That way, they won't fall apart.
Spicy Crab Cakes Adapted from Legal Sea Foods Cookbook
1/3 cup mayonnaise (I use Best Foods)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon Dijon
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup crushed saltine crackers
12 ounces fresh crabmeat, left in large chunks
1/4 cup panko crumbs
Oil for frying
In a medium bowl whisk together the first 8 ingredients. Add cracker crumbs and crab meat and toss lightly to combine. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of panko crumbs onto a sheet pan. Using an ice cream scoop, drop 6 scoops of crab onto the sheet pan and flatten lightly with your fingers to form a patty. Sprinkle tops with remaining panko crumbs. Refrigerate crab cakes for 1 hour so they’ll hold their shape when cooking.
To cook – preheat oven to 400. Place a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to cover the bottom. Heat to shimmering. Add crab cakes and cook for approximately 1 minute a side or until golden brown on both sides. Remove to a sheet pan bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until warmed through. Makes 6 cakes.
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