Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Lemony Crab Cakes

I used to order crab cakes at almost every restaurant until one day I realized that I'd had way too many mushy-with-too-much-filler-not-enough-crab nuggets than anyone should ever eat in a lifetime. My dad's version will always be J and my favorite, but I had never really attempted my own version....until last night.

I hardly ever buy lump crabmeat due to the cost, but on my recent trip to Trader Joe's I spied a big can of Byrd Premium Crabmeat in the refrigerated section that caught my eye. It wasn't the jumbo lump crabmeat that you see at a Gelson's or Whole Foods which come in a tub and hover around $30, but the large blue can did look promising and proclaimed that it was filled with fresh claw meat. When I found out that the one pounder cost $7.99, I was sold, and so was the can of crab......to me, of course;).

Last week I ended up using half the can to make a crab salad. Toshi, our regular sushi chef at Z Sushi, always makes a crab or tofu salad lightly dressed with the most insane yuzu/soy sauce dressing and I wanted to try and recreate it. I simply took a good quality wafu (Japanese) salad dressing and mixed in some yuzu kosho (yuzu pepper) and it came pretty darn close to Toshi's. Drizzled over a bed of mixed spring greens piled high with crabmeat, it was a beautiful supper!

Back to last night. I had a 1/2 pound of crabmeat left so I decided to give crab cakes a go. I just sort of went with flavors that I've enjoyed in crab cakes in the past and they came out really well! I was very pleased since yesterday I was bemoaning the fact that I hadn't really cooked in awhile, and it's always nice to create a recipe of your own that tastes good. I served the crab cakes with a mixed green salad and a quick aioli made by combining some sweet/hot mustard, fresh dill, a splash of champagne vinegar, a spoonful of mayo and a drizzle of olive oil. They came out so well that next time, I'll use the entire can of crab and make a few extra to freeze for a rainy day.

Tuna Toast's Lemony Crab Cakes

1 lb of crabmeat- whatever kind you prefer but works really well with clawmeat- doesn't have to be jumbo lump
1/2 cup diced green onion
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
grated zest of 2 lemons
2 eggs
2 TBS mayonnaise
3 TBS dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp white pepper
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs, plus more for coating

1 TSB butter
1 TSB olive oil

In a large bowl combine crab meat, green onions, parsley and lemon zest- toss together and set aside. Mix remaining ingredients except panko breadcrumbs in a separate bowl and whisk until well combined. Gently fold mustard mixture into crab meat mixture, then add panko breadcrumbs until it's not too dry but not too wet- just moist enough to form patties.

Take 1/4 cup of the crab mixture and gently and lightly form into balls- you don't want to pack the meat tightly. Press down to form a patty, dredge in panko and set on a parchment covered sheet pan or plate. Repeat with remaining mixture, then chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour. (Can be made up to this point a day ahead).

In a large sauté pan, heat 1 TBS of butter with 1 TBS of olive oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Add the crab cakes- being careful not to overcrowd the pan- you will probably have to make these in two or three batches, depending on how large your pan is. Sautee for 3 minutes per side until both sides are golden brown.

Serve with your favorite cocktail sauce or aioli.



carlyn said...

oh yummmmmmm.....looks delicious!!!

Willa Frank said...

first time i've seen your blog and now it won't be the last!

i am a big crabcake nut, too, and adore trader joe's. thanks for giving me a great reason to ad this clawmeat to my new shopping list! :-)

Tokyoastrogirl said...

Carlyn: Thanks, as always.

Willa: Welcome, and thank you for your comments. A fellow chowhounder!