Friday, March 15, 2013

Impress your palate - Creole Crab Cakes

When I moved away from home (Ottawa) to Vancouver, one of my favourite "foodie" discoveries was crab cakes.  They just aren't part of the French Canadian food repertoire.  But, new home, new traditions and great new food adventures!  The West Coast is the place to sample the best of the sea: crab fresh, amazing oysters, spotted prawns and shrimp, and, let's not forget wild salmon and halibut!  Perfect ingredients to build a repertoire of fish cake recipes...

These are the very first crab cakes I ever made.  Don't let the list of ingredients discourage you.  They are easy to make and they taste great!  Thanks Emeril for providing the inspiration...

Makes 10 crab cakes.
2     tbsp olive oil
1     cup onions, diced small
1/2  cup celery, diced small
1/4  cup red peppers, diced small
1/4  cup yellow peppers, diced small
1     tbsp garlic, chopped
1     lb crabmeat
1/4  cup green onions, chopped
1/4  cup parmesan cheese, grated
2     tbsp parsley, finely chopped
3     tbsp Dijon mustard
2     tbsp lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1     egg
1/2  cup good quality mayonnaise
1/4  tsp white pepper
1/2  tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4  tsp Tabasco sauce
pinch each of paprika, cayenne, oregano and thyme
1 1/2 cups Panko, divided
1     tbsp water
Salt and pepper

Put the mayonnaise in a bowl, add the Worcestershire and hot sauce, salt and pepper.  Fold the sauteed vegetables into the crab mixture. Fold in the mayonnaise and 1/2 cup of panko.  Mix well.

In a shallow bowl, season the flour with pinches of paprika, cayenne, oregano and thyme.  In another bowl, combine the remaining panko with pinches of paprika, cayenne, oregano and thyme.  In a third bowl, whisk the egg with the water.

Take 1/3 cup of the crab mixture and form into a patty, about one inch thick. Dredge the cakes in the seasoned flour.  Dip the cakes in the egg wash, letter the excess drip off.  Dredge the cakes in the panko, covering the cakes completely.  Put the cakes in the fridge to set, about 20 minutes.  

Pour the oil into a saute pan and heat about two minutes on medium heat.  Gently lay the cakes in the oil and fry approx. four minutes on each side. Remove the cakes to a paper towel.  Serve with a lemon flavoured mayonnaise for dipping.

Heat oil in a medium pan, over medium heat.  Add the onions, celery and peppers.  Season with salt and pepper and sauté for five minutes.  Add the garlic and continue to cook for two minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and cool.  

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the crab meat, green onions, grated cheese, parsley, mustard and 1 tbsp of lemon juice.  Mix, then set the mixture aside.

Browning the crab cakes
I brown the crab cakes before freezing them.  I don't worry about cooking them through because they'll cook through when you warm them up in a preheated 350 degree oven.

Note: to ensure that I have even cakes, I use a mini burger stacker.  After dredging, dipping and dredging, I make sure the patties fit into the tube, put it inside and use the pusher to even it out.  Five crab cakes fit in each stacker.  Easy to place in the fridge to set before frying.

You can make it spicier by adding more hot sauce.  Or, use of mixture of shrimp (lightly minced in the food processor) and crab.

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