crispy, crunchy, crabby cakes

i know, i’m the worst.  i have been slacking on updating lately, and i sincerely apologize!  i’ve been cooking just as much as usual, but my trusty camera has just not captured the delicacies.  when i realized the other day that i hadn’t posted on here in almost a month, i decided that enough was enough!  so, without further ado, let’s get cooking :]

i’ve been thinking about seafood a lot in the last couple of weeks– really craving some good fish.  but The Krog has not had the best looking selection lately, so i’ve avoided trying out my new seafood recipes.  the other day, i was walking by the fish counter and spotted crab meat— AH.  i love crab!  i love cracking it out of its shell, i love crab boils, i love crab warm, or cold, and i even like imitation crab.  i knowwww, everyone always tells me that imitation crab is disgusting.  well, i do not believe it.  it has its place (in crab noodles, but that is for another time), but it does not belong in crab cakes.  and crab cakes were on the menu in my mind!

now, to make a good crab cake you have to be willing to get good ingredients. and good ingredients can be pricey, i’ll warn you upfront.  in my opinion, the only good crab for a crab cake is lump crab meat, not claw meat.  lump crab is soft, comes in big chunks (or lumps.. hence the name!), and is exxpenssivveeeee.  but really excellent crab cakes don’t have a ton of fillers and breadcrumbs like the ones you get in the frozen food section.  they are almost entirely crab!  so splurge a little and make sure you get good quality crab meat.

there are only a few more ingredients in my succulent crabby cake: (makes 4 or 5)
-6 oz. lump crab meat
-6 or 8 butter crackers, crushed (I used the Town House ones because I had them in my pantry)
-1/2 bell pepper, small dice
-2 or 3 green onions, chopped
-1/4 c. reduced fat mayo
-squeeze of lemon juice
-salt & pepper
-flour for dusting
-olive oil for pan frying

*note: this cake is very delicate, so make sure to fold your ingredients together carefully so you don’t shred your lump crab meat!

first get your veggies ready to toss in.  dice half of a sweet bell pepper (I used an orange one) and chop 2 or 3 green onions, using the white and green parts.  next, crush your crackers up into small pieces.  don’t mash them into dust, but you don’t want huge pieces, either.  they should look like this:

next, take your beautiful lump meat and toss in the mayo, peppers, onions, cracker crumbs, and lemon juice.  fold gently and add salt & pepper to taste.  
at this point, if you have made crab cakes before, you might be wondering where the egg is.  i thought about using one as a binder (to keep the cake together), but the mayo and the cracker crumbs did such a good job that i thought i would save a few calories and a whole ingredient, and skip the egg.  the crab cakes are still very delicate and can break easily, but that is also the case if you use an egg.  
here’s what the mixture looks like!
the next step is to get a skillet on over medium-high heat with a good coating of olive oil in the bottom.  put a little pile of flour on a plate to dust your cakes.  then, take your crab mixture and gently form a palm-sized amount into a fat disk shape.  place your cake into the flour and coat it lightly on both sides.  this will give the finished crab cake a nice crispy outside.

make sure your oil doesnt get too, too hot while you’re pan frying!  also, don’t overcrowd the pan.  if you have a smaller skillet, just cook two at a time so you have room to flip.  after about three or four minutes, flip the crab cakes over very gently with a spatula.  once you’re all done, this is what the beauties look like– golden brown and delicious.

i served my crab cakes with some greens, a quick pasta salad, and homemade cocktail sauce (which is really just ketchup, horseradish, and lemon juice!).  i hope you enjoy this springtime meal!