Small bites: crab cakes

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Tonight we’ve got crab cakes. I adapted a recipe from Simply Recipes. In the SR version Elise mentions that she thought it was a little bland so I modified it by kicking up the heat a bit. Turned out beautifully.

I love crab cakes. Thankfully they’re easy to make.

Now, because fresh crab costs a small fortune right now I decided to go with canned crab meat, which is $2 a can at Trader Joe’s. I made six large crab cakes for less than $10. Not bad. And they tasted fab to boot. If you’re lucky enough to get your mits on fresh crab (without taking an equity loan) I’m totally jealous and wish I were you. I’m sure it indeed tastes better, but for now, canned crab meat does just fine. These crab cakes were very flavorful and totally satisfy the crab cake craving. I also love the fact that these cakes are 95% crab meat.

1. Drain your crab meat and set aside.

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2. Heat a pat of butter. (Please ignore those awful water spots on my frying pan. Gah. That looks terrible!)

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3. Add a small chopped onion and cook until softened and translucent over medium-low heat. It took me about 10 minutes.

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4. While your onions are cooking assemble your sauce. Here’s where I deviated from Elise’s recipe. In a medium bowl add two eggs, two heaping tablespoons tartar sauce, a heaping tablespoon hot paprika, three tablespoons Worcestershire, half teaspoon black pepper and …. (here’s the deviation) a teaspoon of soy sauce and a quarter to half teaspoon of sriratcha hot sauce, depending on how much heat you want.

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5. If your onions are done turn off the heat and let them cool. Slice up two or three slices of bread and trim the crust if it’s hard and crunchy. I had some garlic parmesan asiago, which I think added a hint of flavor to the mixture.

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6. Break the bread up in small pieces and add to crab meat.

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7. Add cooled onions to crab/bread mixture.

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8. Add sauce and gently mix until thoroughly incorporated.

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9. Now the mixture is going to be pretty wet. Don’t be afraid. Lay down a sheet of tin foil on a cookie sheet and spread a few tablespoons of bread crumbs on the surface. Then form patties that are about 3-4 inches wide and about an inch high. Sprinkle bread crumbs over the top of patties. Cover with another piece of tin foil. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

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10. When you’re ready to cook these bad babies up, melt a pat of butter in a large saute pan or grill. Brown 3-4 minutes on each side. Pat them down about halfway through each side. (Heh. Can you tell that I made these patties while it was still light outside and then cooked them up at night under artificial light? Geez. You gotta love that natural light. If I was more conscientious I would take more pains to color correct the night photos. But. I’m not. Just squint your eyes. S’alright?)

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11. Make sure you get a nice crispy edge to ’em.
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Dish and serve with a side of tartar sauce.
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We paired it with a few stalk of crunch steamed broccolini that we could eat with our fingers and a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc, 2008 Loredona.

Enjoy!

CRAB CAKES
adapted from Simply Recipes

1 lb lump crabmeat (4 cans)
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
2 large eggs
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 heaping teaspoon of paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 heaping Tbsp prepared tartar sauce
2 slices bread torn into small pieces
6 Tbsp fresh bread crumbs

1. Pick over the crabmeat to remove any bits of shell and cartilage, being careful not to break up the lumps of crab.

2. Cook the onion and 1/2 of the teaspoon of salt in 1 Tbsp of butter in a small skillet, over medium high heat, until the onion is softened. Let it cool.

3. Whisk together the eggs, Worcestershire sauce, remaining salt, paprika, pepper, tartar sauce, and onion mixture. Gently fold in the crabmeat and torn bread. Note that the mixture will be very wet. Gently form the mixture into six cakes, each about 3 1/2 inches across and 3/4 inches thick. Line a tray with a piece of wax paper just large enough to hold the cakes and sprinkle it with half of the bread crumbs. Set the crab cakes in one layer on the top of the paper and sprinkle with the remaining bread crumbs. Cover the crab cakes loosely with another sheet of wax paper and chill for one hour.

4. Melt the remaning 3 Tbsp of butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until the foam subsides. Cook the crab cakes until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side.

Makes 6 crab cakes.

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