Monday, July 14, 2014

Crab Cakes

Sometimes dinner time is like an episode of Chopped. I look in the fridge and find a celery root, and on the counter are a pint of grape tomatoes and two ripe avocados. There's meat from 7 nicely-sized crabs as well, a leftover bonus after the crab feast we had the day before. Now how do I incorporate these things into something delicious?

I suppose it wasn't all that difficult. Not like I also had to use Chopped-style speed bumps like pop rocks or canned peaches (although we do have those in the house). I briefly thought I could stuff the avocado with crab salad, but I really felt like crab cakes. (:::feeling self::: yup - definitely crab cakes.) And don't get me wrong, I love Old Bay, but I think I might like Phillip's seafood seasoning even more. It's less, um, distinctive than Old Bay, and therefore allows the sweet flavor of crab to shine through while still tasting like seafood seasoning.

The celery root became celeri remoulade. Here's the recipe I usually use, adapted from Joel Robuchon. Because classic French is how I roll. (So untrue.) Unfortunately, I didn't have cornichons on hand, but since I was using the remoulade as a substitute for cole slaw to go with crab cakes, I squirted in a little Dijon. Hey, it worked great. Didn't even miss the wee sour pickles. The avocado was mashed with a bit of lemon juice and salt, and the tomatoes were quartered and lightly pickled in a bit of rice wine vinegar, green Tabasco, and pinches of sugar and salt.

The combination was nice. The avocado was rich, the tomatoes bright, the crab cakes luscious, and the celeri remoulade added a lot of texture. Would have made a nice sandwich, too.

Crab Cakes, a la Phillips, by way of theminx

1 teaspoon Phillips Seafood Seasoning
1 egg
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
½ teaspoon lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoon prepared mustard
12 ounces blue crab meat, picked over for shells
Panko breadcrumbs

Combine all ingredients except crab and panko in a large bowl. Fold in the crab meat, then add enough panko to hold the mixture together (1/4 cup or so). Refrigerate the mixture for at least one hour to firm it up.

When ready to cook, form the mixture into 4 cakes. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil (I used extra virgin olive oil) in a large frying pan over high heat. Gently add the cakes and turn the temperature down a bit. Cook on both sides until nicely golden brown.

Serve with your favorite accompaniments.

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