June 21, 2006

Crab Cakes

Unfortunately, you won't be able to see these beauties since my camera went with my husband to Germany. He's gone for 3 days - just a short trip, and when faced with the prospect of cooking for one, there are many times when a bowl of cereal suffices. But, there are equally times when cooking a simple little elegant meal just hits the spot.

Tonight was one such night. I have to say I feel a little pride when I pull something out that is delicious and seemingly gourmet, (and it's all for me...buwha-ha-ha!) My meal tonight consisted of crab cakes on a bed of arugula, roasted asparagus and a glass of red wine. So cute and so delightful that I made it just for me. Indulgent yet simple. Woo-hoo!
There's me descending a massive slide in the Parc de la Villette!
My mouth had been watering for crab cakes since reading this post and recipe over at The Weekly Dish. Her pairing of crab cakes with guacamole is very close to my very favorite way to enjoy crab cakes: with sliced avocado and some chipotle mayo. Knowing I'd never find a ripe avocado in Paris to be consumed that night, I decided to try a simpler preparation. I missed the avocado, but they were tasty anyway.

Crab cakes are indeed tough to mess up. (You can make meatloaf, right?) But, we all know there are edible crab cakes, good crab cakes and exquisite crab cakes. I'd love to say mine were the latter, but they were good. I mean, I used canned crabmeat. I admit it. So the texture wasn't quite as chunky and nice as fresh crab would've been, and the flavor wasn't crabby enough for me. Let's call it a more delicately flavored crab cake. Substitute fresh crabmeat in this recipe and it will be a winner.

Crab Cakes

1/2 pound (240 g) crabmeat (fresh, lump crabmeat is best)

1 egg, beaten

2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp dijon mustard

2 Tbsp red onion, minced
2-3 Tbsp red or yellow bell pepper, minced

1/4 cup coarse bread crumbs (like panko)

(In France: Chapelure Dorée works)
pinch cayenne pepper

pinch paprika

Tabasco sauce

ground black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

olive oil, for frying

A simple sauce:

3 Tbsp mayonnaise,
the juice of one lemon wedge, paprika, and a good pinch of cayenne pepper

Like meatloaf, most of the amounts are approximate, especially the bread crumbs. Add small amounts until the desired texture is achieved. Also, I enjoy a spicy crab cake and have been told that Old Bay Seasoning is what to use. If you have some of that, leave out the other spices except maybe the hot sauce. Better to add too much spice than too little.

Beat the egg in a medium bowl. Whisk in the mayo, mustard and spices. Add the onion and pepper. Gently mix in the crabmeat, not breaking it apart too much. Once combined, gradually add breadcrumbs until the mixture just holds together. (Try shaping a cake and if it's too wet, add more crumbs.) Shape into whatever size cakes you prefer. This is a small recipe, so it made only five 3-inch diameter cakes, each about 1/2 inch thick. Place cakes on a plate and refrigerate 30 min - 1 hour. This is necessary so your cakes won't fall apart when frying.

Heat a very thin layer of oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Spread some extra bread crumbs on a small plate. Coat each crab cake in some breadcrumbs, pressing the crumbs so they stick. Test the oil by tossing a tiny (TINY) amount of breadcrumbs in the oil. If they sizzle immediately, it's ready. Cook the crabcakes 4 minutes per side (or less depending on the size) until nicely brown. If after 2 minutes the cakes aren't browning, turn up the heat. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels. Serve on some greens with a bit of sauce on each crab cake.
Serves 2.


Erin said...

Oh, Megan! These sound fantastic! Crab cakes are definitely in my top 2 of foods that I miss since becoming a vegetarian...and they are the most likely item that I would eat if the vegetarian selections a.)suck or b.)are non-existant for a special occasion. And, I think your meal for one sounds perfect - a definite step up from cereal bowl.

Jennifer said...

Hi Megan!

I'm so happy that my crab cakes inspired you...the more people eating crab cakes, the happier a place the world will be, in my book! The arugula and asparagus sound like good companions.

By the way, the slide picture is adorable!

Megan said...

Erin - Thanks! Crab cakes are a must-order for me, anytime they're on a menu. Love 'em!

Jennifer - Thanks for stopping by! I totally agree - crab cakes rule. =)