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Mar 18, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Crab Cakes’

By the Book: crab cakes

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Whenever I see crab cakes on a menu, I order them. They are a total weakness of mine. So, when I was paging through Fish: Recipes from the sea it was not hard for me to decide that I was going to try the version listed.

The recipe is really simple and doesn’t have a whole lot of flavoring agents besides the seafood itself, which is something I noticed throughout many recipes in this book. For example, a recipe titled Scallops with Butter and Sage is exactly that: scallops, butter, sage, salt and pepper. Simple and not overpowering to the delicate flavors of the fish. The book also breaks down different kinds of seafood into oily fish, freshwater fish, flat white fish and so on. It provides examples of fish within each category with illustrations and explanations of texture and flavor, as well as how to break them down and what flavors they work best with. It’s a useful reference for people like me who don’t cook a lot of seafood at home. For more on this book, look for our review of Fish on page 31 of our April issue.

Now, back to those crab cakes. I went to Bob’s Seafood to pick up some jumbo lump crabmeat, which is available nearly everyday at Bob’s. The shop offers canned crab, but it also receives shipments of fresh crab meat about 2 to 3 times a week. And the guys inside aren’t lying when they call it “fresh.” They opened the box and let me smell the crab, which smelled sweet and clean, just as it should.

This recipe calls for 1 pound plus 5 ounces of boiled potatoes. I’ve never made crab cakes with potatoes, and, while the potatoes made the cakes light and fluffy without any mayonnaise, it was too much filler for me. Since I’m more partial to the crab than the cake, next time I’d halve the amount of potatoes I use. 

The book tells you to use fresh, white bread crumbs to create a crust for pan-frying. I used Panko instead, which worked quite well with the texture of the crab cakes. It was delicate yet crunchy, and the cakes came out light and fluffy. Another thing to note is that the recipe tells you that this makes 4 crab cakes – well maybe if you’re feeding Goliath and his friends. I ended up making 8 cakes about 4 inches in diameter. It was plenty.

Crab Cakes
4 Servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 5 to 7 minutes

3 Tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for deep-frying
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, chopped
500 g. (1lb. plus 2 oz.) fresh white crab meat, flaked
Pinch chile flakes
1 Tbsp. flat-leaf parsley
600 g. (1 lb. plus 5 oz.) boiled potatoes
Plain (all-purpose) flour, for dusting
2 eggs, beaten
150 g. (3 cups) fresh white bread crumbs

Alternative fish: salted cod

Heat the oil in a frying pan or skillet, add the garlic and onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the crab meat, chile flakes and parsley, season with salt and cook for a few minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Pass the potatoes through a potato ricer into a bowl, add the crab mixture and mix gently. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Lightly dust your hands with flour and shape the mixture into 4 patties. Lightly beat the eggs in a shallow dish and spread out the breadcrumbs in another shallow dish.

Heat the oil for frying in a deep-fryer to 350 to 375 degrees, or until a cube of day-old bread browns in 30 seconds. Dip the crab cakes first into the beaten egg and then roll them in the breadcrumbs. Add to the hot oil and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until golden brown. Remove with a fish slice (spatula), drain on paper towels and serve immediately.

Reprinted with permission from Phaidon Press

Tell us about what you put in your crab cakes in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Fish: Recipes from the sea.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Jill, whose comment on last week’s By the Book column has won her a copy of The Quintessential Quinoa Cookbook. Jill, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew!

Just Five: Landlubber No-Crab Cakes

Monday, March 21st, 2011

032111_pick5Welcome back to Just Five, a column where we share recipes for refined and delicious dishes that use just five ingredients, excluding butter, oil, salt and pepper, of course. There’s just one rule of thumb: Always choose the highest quality ingredients, as each will stand out in the recipes we feature.

I love the concept of cake – crab, salmon, tuna (or for that matter, chocolate, yellow and marble) – so when I saw a recipe for Landlubber Crab Cakes made with butternut squash and bacon (and no crab), I was intrigued. Of course, I know that bacon makes everything better. But I had also become interested in the concept of frying raw butternut squash; I’ve always just roasted it or cooked it in broth for soup. And boy was I right. The earthy sweetness of the squash with the salty pancetta are a perfect pairing. And the lime mayonnaise? I didn’t anticipate how such a simple pairing could be so good, from the flavor to the color to the beautiful melding of bright and creamy. I have just one request: Please do not use salad dressing with these; use mayonnaise. Trust me on this one, you won’t regret it. These make wonderful appetizers or would be great on a spinach salad. Actually, I expect if you thinned out the lime mayonnaise with some buttermilk and sour cream, you’d have a great dressing for that salad.

Landlubber No-Crab Cakes

Serves 4 as an entrée or 8 as an appetizer

Adapted by Dee Ryan from a recipe by Niki Segnit, originally published in The Flavor Thesaurus

4 slices pancetta or bacon
2 cups grated butternut squash (about one medium squash)
¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
2 to 3 Tbsp. mayonnaise, plus another ½ cup for sauce, divided
1 lime, juiced and zested
Vegetable or canola oil
Salt to taste

• Cook pancetta or bacon over medium heat until crisp and drain on paper towels.
• Combine grated butternut squash, crumbled pancetta, panko and 2 to 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise in a bowl until all ingredients are well incorporated.
• Form patties using about ¼ cup of the mixture for each so that the patty is no thicker than about half of an inch. Refrigerate the formed patties for 30 minutes to set up.
• Heat about ¼ cup of oil in a skillet, and fry the patties, in batches if necessary, for about 2 minutes per side. Remove and drain on paper towels.
• Mix remaining mayonnaise with 1 tablespoon of lime juice and 1 teaspoon of lime zest, and serve it as a dipping sauce.

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