Sunday, July 21, 2019

Rosie Makes Crab Cakes.


Not long ago, I got my August issue of Our State magazine and there was an insert about the "ultimate eats" - 56 food experiences not to be missed in North Carolina.  One of these experiences was the crab cakes from a local restaurant in Nags Head.  The picture of the cakes looked pretty good, so I checked out the restaurant's web site, figuring Mr. Hawthorne and I owed it too ourselves to go there for a crab cake dinner sometime, even though we're not dinner-eaters.  (We're late-lunchers.)  Made with jumbo lump crab meat, a single cake went for $26.95 and two cakes for $32.95.  Naturally, I wanted the second cake for $6, however,  I don't think it works that way.  Anyhoos, Rosie is cheap.  Make that Cheap-with-a-Capital-C.  I just couldn't bring myself to try their crab cakes for $26.95.  So, Rosie is making her own crab cakes.

Now, if anybody out there wants to treat Rosie for dinner at this fine restaurant, I'd be more than happy to be your guest.  I'd love to try someone else's cakes.

But for now, I'm making my own.

Now, about that crab meat.
You don't need jumbo lump for crab cakes.  Certainly not at $35 a pound.  Although those big lumps look real pretty in a cake, they're just not necessary.  Claw meat, at $15/pound, is fine.  (These are the current prices at Billy's Seafood.)   In fact,  I prefer claw meat.  I consider it the "dark" meat of the crab.  Like the dark meat of chicken or turkey, it's sweeter and tastier.

Now, about those crab cakes.  Less is more.  You don't want a lot of filler.  You don't want to overpower the crab meat.  You want the crab meat to shine.

That said, here are Rosie's crab cakes:
Rosie's Crab Cakes
1 pound crab meat  (I used claw meat, but if you want lump, I won't stop you.)

Mix together and add to crab meat:
2 TB minced celery
4 tsp minced sweet bell pepper (I like to use multi-colored peppers.)
2 TB minced red onion
1 TB minced fresh parsley and thyme (half and half or thereabouts)

Whisk together until smooth:
1 egg
1 TB mayonnaise
1/2 tsp Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/4 tsp tabasco
1 tsp lemon juice

Add egg mixture to crab meat mixture and gently combine.  Do not overwork and don't break up the crab meat.

Sprinkle in:
1/4 cup crushed oyster crackers (or saltines)

Form into patties.  My molds were 3 inches in diameter and I lightly pressed the crab meat to about a 3/4-inch thickness.

Chill for at least one hour.

Lightly coat cakes in a breading mixture of equal parts crushed Saltines and Ritz crackers.

Pour a film of peanut oil into a large skillet and add 2-3 tablespoons of unsalted butter.  Heat to
360° - 375°.  The butter will start to sizzle.  Gently slide in the crab cakes and saut√© 3-4 minutes each side, until golden brown.  Drain.

I like to serve these with a remoulade sauce.  This is one of many versions of a remoulade.

Rosie's Remoulade
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 TB lemon juice
1 tsp coarse-grained mustard
1 tsp Tabasco
1/2 tsp Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp chopped capers
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 tsp chopped parsley
1 TB sliced scallions
Mix all together.
Re-adjust if you like.  It's not etched in stone.

For the step-by-steps:
Gently mix the celery, pepper, onion, and herbs with the crab meat.
Pour in the egg and mayo mixture and combine.

Sprinkle in the crushed crackers.

Using a mold, form the crab cakes into patties.

This made 7 patties.  Chill for at least an hour.

Next I used a rolling pin to crush the crackers - Saltines and Ritz.

Press a light coating of breading onto each side of the cakes.

Heat a thin film of peanut oil and a few tablespoons of butter and slide in the cakes.
Brown the crab cakes, then drain on paper towels.
I like to serve this with lemon juice, the remoulade, and cole slaw on the side.
Sprinkle with extra scallions and some cayenne for good measure.

Some fresh corn on the cob with buttah and a simple garden tomato/cucumber/red onion salad with a sprinkling of sugar and vinegar with fresh dill makes a mighty fine dish.


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