Home - is where I want to be / But I guess I'm already there /I come home -
she lifted up her wings /
Guess that this must be the place...
- Talking Heads, "Naive Melody"

Monday, July 11, 2011

Crab Cakes with Lemon Aioli (Williams Sonoma Comfort Food)

Crab twice in one weekend? Don't mind if I do! This recipe had been intended as our Father's Day showpiece, but then D* came down with something, so we had it a week later. It was no worse for the wait.

New England, of course, is known for lobster, but I maintain that whoever first plucked one from the briny deep, looked into those eyestalks and said, "Hey! Dinner!" must have been really hungry. I can take or leave them in shelled form, and shell-on prefer to keep my distance. Crab, on the other hand, I would happily eat every week (if I could afford it), and if a menu has crab cakes on it, you can safely bet the house that you know what my order will be.

Once a year or so I take a stab at making them myself; the results have been tasty, but lacking in visual appeal as they invariably fall apart. This has been my best attempt to date, and I suspect it's because they don't mess around trying to be "light." A teaspoon of oil and a nonstick pan just won't cut it in the adhesive department

They were a trifle too wet, but next time I will know to drain my crab better. 

Lemon Aioli
1 c mayonnaise
Finely grated zest of one lemon
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Crab Cakes
1 lb lump crabmeat
3/4 c panko or other breadcrumbs, divided
1 large egg, beaten
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 c canola oil for frying
lemon wedges for serving

1. To make the aioli, mix together the mayonnaise, zest, juice, and garilc. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside 1/4 cup of the aioli; cover and refrigerate the remaining 3/4 c until serving. 

2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Pick over the crab meat for shells and cartilage (there's always one tiny little piece). In a bowl, mix together 1/4 c of the panko, 1/4 c aioli, egg, mustard, Worcestershire, hot pepper sauce, and parsley. Add the crabmeat and mix gently to combine. 

3. Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions and shape into thick cakes. Spread the remaining 3/4 c panko in a shallow dish. Coat the cakes evenly with the panko. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. 

4. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the cakes and cook until the undersides are golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Turn and cook another 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain briefly. 

5. Serve the cakes at once with lemon wedges and the remaining aioli on the side.

4 servings

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