I was thinking of how we now live in the Pacific Northwest and crab is almost always in season. I think it was time I make some. I pondered over recipes, and ideas of what to make. Finally a light bulb went off - crab cakes! I may have never had any, but I know they are loved when made well. I picked the brain of all I knew who have had or have made them. What makes crab cakes good? What made them great? What goes with them best? Is there a binding ingredient that is better? Should I fry them or bake them? My questions were endless. But after about two weeks of research I came up with a recipe I knew Brian would love. A recipe I felt would let crab shine, with a bit of zip to it all. So last week I headed downtown to Pike Place market. There is a counter there that sells cups of crab cocktail that Brian loves. Since he eats it often and enjoys it I knew I could trust them. As I approached the counter and spoke with the salesman and had one of the smallest world moments I have ever encountered living in Seattle. The salesman asked where I was from…turns out we were both from New Jersey. Wait it gets better - he was from Fair Lawn, and his wife was from Garfield. When I told him I was from Garfield and my husband was from Hackensack he started to laugh. I left the market with a new friend made, and the lump crab meat for my cakes!
When I got home I prepped all my ingredients for the crab cakes and I told Brian all about my new friend at the fish counter. He was laughing in disbelief and inquisitive over the crab cakes. I thought that some Southwestern spice (being we lived in Phoenix for ten years) would match well with the Pacific Northwest crab. Combine that with a fish salesman who grew up two towns away from me, my life was coming full circle in this recipe! I lightly fried up the crab cakes spiced with chili, served them with a light cilantro infused lime cream dressing, and a light cabbage salad on the side. Brian was delighted with the end result. He cleaned his plate and packed up the leftovers excited for future lunches. He told me that they were the best crab cakes he ever had. If I did not know better he is just trying to get me to make them again!
Southwestern Crab Cakes (feeds 6)
1 ½ lbs of lump crab meat
¼ cup of onion, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
¼ cup of mayo
1 tsp of kosher salt
¼ tsp of black pepper
¼ cup of panko bread crumbs
Olive oil for frying
Avocado, to slice and serve along side if you like
First, look over all of your lump crab meat to be sure there are no shell fragments left in it. In a bowl mix together your onion, jalapeno, mayo, eggs, salt and pepper. Once all combined add it with your lump crab meat and gently fold it all together.
Next, place a large nonstick frying pan over medium high heat. Sprinkle your panko crumbs over your crab mixture and fold it all together. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to your nonstick frying pan and heat the oil through.
Then; add your crab mixture using a measuring scoop - measure ¼ up of crab mixture at a time into your pan. You might need to flatten them out a tad. Be sure to leave enough room when scooping the crab cakes to flip them over. Once your crab cake is golden, flip it over; let it gently fry and get golden on the opposite side.
Finally; place your done crab cakes on with a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with the remainder crab cake mixture, adding in a bit of olive oil at a time when needed. You can serve them right away or place them on a baking sheet and can be reheated in the oven upon serving. Either way, be sure to serve warm.
Cilantro Spiced Creamy Lime Dressing (serves 6)
1 cup of light sour cream
Juice and zest of 3 limes
¼ cup of cilantro, minced
2 pinches of kosher salt
1/8 tsp of ground coriander
First, place all your ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Place your bowl in the refrigerator and chill at least 30 minutes before serving.
Finally, spoon a bit of dressing over your crab cakes when serving. Mixture can be wrapped and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Cabbage Salad (serves 6)
½ head of green cabbage, cored and sliced thinly
2 carrots, grated
2 tsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of rice wine vinegar
Pinch of kosher salt
Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss together. Let it marinate together about 15 minutes before serving. Toss again before serving.