Monday, April 16, 2012

In Our Kitchen ~ Crab Cakes

Not only does John say that this is one of the best things that I cook, he says these
crab cakes are the best he's had ANYWHERE. 
The recipe is from the Williams-Sonoma Bride & Groom Cookbook. I registered for this cookbook at WS when we got married and every recipe I've made from it has been amazing.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup minced yellow onion
1/3 cup minced celery
Kosher salt and pepper
1lb fresh or thawed frozen lump crabmeat
3/4 cup fine fresh bread crumbs (WS has a recipe for this but I just use the Progresso boxed bread crumbs)
1/2 cup mashed potatoes, cooled (these mashed potatoes taste just like Grandma Catherine's!)
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
2 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste
1 cup fine toasted bread crumbs
Spicy mayonnaise for serving
Arugula leaves for serving

Heat the olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and celery and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes; do not let brown. Season lightly with salt, remove from the heat, and let cool completely. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the crabmeat, fresh bread crumbs, mashed potatoes, mustard, mayonnaise, chives, tarragon, cayenne, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Mix together gently with a fork to keep the mixture fluffy, with big flakes of crabmeat intact. Carefully stir in the cooled onion mixture. Add a little more lemon juice, cayenne, or salt to suit your taste.

To form the cakes, spread the toasted bread crumbs on a plate. Use a 1/4 cup measure to scoop out the crab mixture and drop into the crumbs. Coat each side lightly with the crumbs, patting them on so they adhere, and form a compact cake about 3/4 inch thick. You should be able to form 8 crab cakes. At this point, you can refrigerate the cakes until just before ready to cook and serve.

When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 200ºF. Heat half of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Place 4 of the cakes in the pan and cook on one side until a golden crust forms, about 3 minutes. Use tongs or a spatula to turn the cakes over and continue cooking until a golden crust forms on the second side, about 3 minutes more. Remove the cakes from the pan and keep warm in the oven while adding the remaining half of the oil to the sauté pan and cooking the remaining 4 cakes.

To serve, place the crab cakes on individual plates with a dollop of spicy mayonnaise, if using, and a sprinkling of arugula leaves. 

If you made mashed potatoes, you should have enough to serve some on the side. I also serve asparagus or salad when I make this meal.

These are really pretty easy to make, especially once you've done it once or twice. Also, you can experiment with some variations - store bought mayo vs. making your own, adding the spicy mayo, toasting your own bread crumbs (I found that to be too much work), adding minced ginger, chopped bell peppers, or chopped sautéed spinach. 

The only downside to this meal is the cost of the crab meat. The last time I made this, I bought one tub of fresh Jumbo lump cramp meat and one tub of lump crab meat from the seafood counter- that way you still get the big lumps but you aren't paying as much for the crab (and I happened to be shopping for this when the crab meat was on sale!). Making the full recipe would easily feed 4 people, so if you're only feeding 2 and don't want leftovers, you can cut the recipe in half.


Carla said...

That was definitely a meal to remember! I tried them once after we had them at your apartment, and mine just weren't as good as yours :-( Maybe I'll try again someday. Are you still writing down the date in the cookbook every time you make them?

Rebecca said...

That was a fun night! The last time I wrote the date was when we had y'all over, so I haven't continued the tradition. Maybe I'll just write significant times that I make them from now on.