Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Doing crab cakes a little differently

Pretty much all recipes for crab cakes require mayonnaise.

That's what I learned yesterday evening as I tried to make dinner. We had about a half-pound of crab meat left from our most recent CSF delivery, and Lindsey had requested crab cakes (a CSF is a Community Supported Fishery, like a CSA but for fish. Ours is called Core Sound Seafood – check them out they do excellent work).

Now I had made crab cakes numerous times before (pretty successfully, I believe, as the repeated request demonstrated). As per my usual cooking style, in making them previously I had based my approach on an existing recipe to get the basic idea, then taken it and done my own thing, adjusting and seasoning as I saw fit. The recipes always include some mayonnaise.

The problem was that last night I didn't have any mayonnaise. We usually make our own (much better tasting than the store-bought stuff), and I just didn't feel like taking the extra step. So I decided to wing it, without mayonnaise.

The result? Excellent! More straight crab flavor, and a little lighter. I would in fact probably do it this way again (though I have to say, a little dollop aïoli on top would be quite nice...).

Here's what I did (all measurements are very, very approximate):

I mixed the 1/2 pound of crab meat with a 1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs. For flavoring, I used a generous dash of pimentón (smoked paprika – it belongs in pretty much everything), a pinch of cayenne for heat, a couple tablespoons of mustard, a few splashes of cider vinegar, and some salt. To bind it, I added tablespoon of olive oil and a small egg. I combined it all thoroughly, shaped it into 4 cakes, and dredged the cakes in a little flour. These were fried on medium-high heat in a mixture of butter and olive oil until nicely browned. Add a squeeze of lemon on top and it's ready.

And to drink with this? Txakoli of course!

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