I have loved crab cakes ever since I lived in coastal Beaufort, South Carolina. There, I would put traps out off of my dock, baited with chicken necks and haul in a bushelful whenever I did so. Then I would boil the sweet blue crabs on my outdoor stove and toss them on a picnic table covered with newspaper to pick and clean them. Today I am at the mercy of the fishmonger or in a pinch I will buy a can of quality lump crab. I made these crab cakes for dinner, but since there were only two of us dining, I made the remaining mixture into appetizer sized cakes and froze them. When I am in need of a quick appetizer I can thaw and sauté them in short order. I served the crab cakes over an arugula salad and with a side of Mango Mustard that my friend Janet gave me a recipe for. I also keep a tub of chipotle mayo (just put 2-3 chipotles in adobo in a food processor with a cup of fresh home made mayo & process till the chiles are totally incorporated) in the refrigerator and often use it or wasabi mayo with crab cakes.
Here is the really simple recipe… go for it!
1# of good quality lump crab meat, cleaned
Zest from a Meyer Lemon (or Eureka if you can’t find a Meyer)
1/8 cup of fresh lemon juice (Meyer is preferred)
2 plump shallots, minced finely
1/4 cup of fresh minced herbs, in this case I used garlic chives, chives, chervil & flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Japanese Panko crumbs (I use the honey panko for this, but plain are fine too)
Lots of freshly grated black pepper and a pinch of salt
Stir all together and allow to sit for 15 minutes.
Form into cakes of any size.. for entree portions I make them about 3″ across, for appetizers about 1.5″ across. Place the cakes on waxed paper as you are forming them. They can be chilled in the refrigerator or frozen at this point, or cooked immediately.
In a large frying pan, gently melt 2/3 stick of butter. When the butter has melted, add the crab cakes, being careful not to crowd them. Let the cakes sauté until you see a rim of golden crust forming at the bottom of the cakes. Do not try and turn them until they have formed this crust or they will stick to the bottom and fall apart.
Turn the cakes and allow them to brown on the other side. Remove to a rack to rest for a minute and then serve.