Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Food I'm Eating: Crab Cakes

I recently got the recipe friends use to make what have consistently been the best crab cakes I've ever tasted--better than any restaurant crab cakes I've had. I have the directions scribbled on the back of a post card. They're certain to get lost. Rather than annoy friends by asking for the recipe again, I record it here. This strategy has the added benefit of passing it on to the rest of the world--not that this recipe is unique; it may be a fairly standard one. All I know is that it works. Enjoy.

  • One pound of crab meat
  • A couple of slices of bread with the crust removed (or, use panko-style bread crumbs)
  • Milk to soak the bread in
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • One teaspoon Old Bay Spice (I found it in the seafood section at Safeway)
  • One tablespoon baking powder
  • One tablespoon mayonnaise
  • One tablespoon chopped parsley
  • One tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • One shallot diced small
  • One beaten egg
Directions: You can soak the bread in the milk to make it soft and then mix this in with the main ingredients as a binder, but I prefer to forget the bread, form the cakes, and then dip these in panko bread crumbs, in which case you get a slightly crunchy outside coating. The drawback is that the cakes don't hold together as well and need to be turned with care. In any case, first, sauté the shallots until just golden, reserve, and allow to cool while following the next steps. Put the crab meat into an appropriately sized bowl, add all the ingredients (including the shallots now and the bread if you've decided to use it) and mix well. Form the mixture into cakes. Dip in the bread crumbs until coated (if you didn't use the bread as a binder). Fry the cakes in a little olive oil and butter until golden brown. Garnish with lemon wedges and sprigs of parsley. Serve immediately. A well-chilled dry white wine is an excellent accompaniment. Champagne is ideal. Otherwise, Chablis (real Chablis), a crisp Marsanne or Rousanne from Wellington Vineyards, or wines like Sancerre, Menetou-Salon, St. Veran, or Pouilly Fuissé would be my choice.

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