There’s only one letter separating crab cakes from crap cakes.
Crab cakes — meaty, crispy, light — stand as one of the most delicious seafood dishes. Crap cakes — bready, soggy, dense — taste like, well, crap.
This weekend, conduct your own crab cake quality control. By selecting what you put into the patties, you can avoid the preservatives, additives, and filler. Take inspiration from Damon Gordon, executive chef of Water Grill in Los Angeles. His recipe calls for a bevy of fresh ingredients that add depth and complexity to delicate crabmeat. Green apple delivers a tart-sweet tang. Reduced heavy cream helps bind the mixture and lends extra richness. Ritz crackers give the shaped cakes an added crunch when they hit a hot, oiled pan.
Yes, this recipe will take some time, but the sweat equity pays off in flavor. These cakes are no from-the-freezer-fare. They’re a celebration of fresh seafood.
Recipe by Damon Gordon, executive chef of Water Grill
What you’ll need:
1 ½ cups heavy cream
⅛ small onion, minced
1 Tbsp butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
450g jumbo lump crabmeat
1 small garlic clove, minced
½ small celery rib, minced
¼ green apple, peeled and diced
1 tsp minced chives
1 tsp minced parsley
½ Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
½ Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½ Tbsp Tabasco sauce
½ Tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp panko breadcrumbs
2 Ritz crackers, crushed
How to make it:
1. In a medium pot over medium-low heat, reduce the cream by 2/3, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
2. In a small pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
3. As the prepared ingredients cool, make the crab mixture. In a large bowl, combine the crabmeat, garlic, celery, egg, apple, chives, parsley, Old Bay Seasoning, Worcestershire, Tabasco, mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, and panko.
Finally, add the cooked onions and the reduced cream, adding a little of the cream a time until the mixture is easy to shape into patties (you may not use all the cream). Form the mixture into 8 patties (114g each).
4. Preheat your oven to 177°C (350°F). In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp of canola oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, if necessary, sear each side of the crab cakes until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Place the seared crab cakes on a baking sheet, transfer the sheet to the oven, and bake until the cakes are warmed through, about 5 minutes. Makes 8 servings.
By: Paul Kita