I am happy to see tubs of good quality crab meat at the supermarkets. In the pre-convenience food days, crabmeat came from actual crabs which had to be cooked first before painstakingly picking the meat from the crevices of the crab. It was a whole lot of work and the yield is not that much. I think it is cheaper to buy crab meat than fresh crabs.
Crabs are among the tastiest and sweetest of all seafood. When fresh and in season, crabs are wonderful eaten just plainly steamed. When mixed with other ingredients it holds its own flavour well.
The simplest way to use crab meat is by making them into crab cakes. I want to heighten the flavour of the crabs without watering it down. Fresh herbs and aromatics go in as well as lemon zest but I tone down the binder. I just put enough to hold it together without making it into one solid mass because I want to retain the moisture of the crab. After being fried in a mixture of butter and oil, it gives a contrast of crisp crumb and moist flakes of crab meat in every bite.
These can be served as a main meal on salad (2 per person) or singly as starters. They are delicious, too in between slices of soft white bread with tomatoes and lettuce. Simple food but simply delicious.
Yield: 8 crab cakes
Ingredients for the crab cakes:
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/3 c. chopped onions
1/3 c. chopped celery
2 tbsps. butter
1 lb. of cooked flaked crabmeat, about 1 1/2 c.
2 tbsps. chopped chives
2 tbsps. chopped fresh dill
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. cracker crumbs (I used cream crackers)
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 medium egg
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
extra cracker crumbs for coating the crab cakes (about 1 cup)
equal amounts of oil and butter for frying
Put the garlic, onions and celery in a bowl together with the butter.
Microwave for 2 minutes. Transfer to a strainer. If you are using store bought crabmeat, strain to get rid of excess moisture.
Mix all of the ingredients together except for the extra cracker crumbs and the oil and butter for frying.
Divide into eight portions and shape into balls. Coat with crumbs then form into patties. for perfect patties, wrap the crumbed balls in cling film. Form patties by pressing the wrapped balls with the bottom of a measuring cup or onto a ring mould or round cookie cutter.
Heat up a pan and add 2 tbsps. each of butter and oil. Pan fry the crab cakes, 2 at a time, on low heat for 4-5 minutes on each side until golden brown.
Ingredients for the chive mayo:
1/3 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. fat free Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp. chopped chives
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Mix everything together and serve with the crab cakes.
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