From the Barking Crab, a stalwart Boston restaurant on the Waterfront, come these classic crab cakes, full of sweet crab meat and just enough crumbs to hold them together.
Begin this yummy seafood favorite by sautéing onions, celery and garlic until softened and fragrant. Remove from the heat and let it cool. Gently fold in unseasoned bread crumbs, parsley and tarragon, some mustard and a dash of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco for brightness and good flavor. And of course fresh crab meat.
Form this mix into patties and gently pan fry until crispy and browned on both sides. You can make them 3-inches wide and serve with a salad for a special lunch or dinner OR make them 1-inch wide for a special passed appetizer. To take these to higher heights of deliciousness, serve them with a garlic aioli, made from mayonnaise, roasted red peppers and roasted garlic cloves.
The aioli, on the other hand, is much less garlicky than traditional Mediterranean aioli. At the restaurant the cakes are deep fried, however we found that shallow, pan frying worked just as well.
Yield: 9 servings
Ingredients for the Crab Cakes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons diced onion
2 tablespoons diced celery
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
2 cups fine dry, plain breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash Worcestershire sauce
dash Tabasco sauce
1 1/4 pounds crabmeat, picked through for shell bits
1/4 cup finely diced red or yellow bell pepper
vegetable oil for frying
In a small saute pan over medium heat, add oil and cook onion and celery; until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool. Add 1 cup of the bread crumbs, herbs, mustard, salt, Worcestershire, Tabasco, crabmeat, and pepper and thoroughly mix.
Form the mixture into patties about ½-inch thick and 3 1/2 inches in diameter. Spread remaining cup of bread crumbs on a plate. Turn each crab cake in crumbs to lightly coat. Set coated cakes on a wire rack and let them dry for 15 to 20 minutes.
In a large saute pan over medium high heat, heat 1/4 inch of oil. Add crab cakes, keeping them well separated, and fry until browned and crisp, about 4 minutes a side. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate. Serve on a bed of greens and top with Roasted Pepper and Garlic Aioli.
Roasted Pepper and Garlic Aioli Ingredients
Yield: About 1 1/2 cups of sauce
1 large red bell pepper
3 large cloves garlic, do not peel
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon chopped capers
1 scant tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
several grinds of black pepper
Heat a cast iron pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Place pepper on it and lightly press (or place under broiler—keep an eye on it). Roast pepper, turning and pressing, until all sides are and blackened. Place unpeeled garlic cloves on pan and roast, without pressing, until they are browned on all sides. Remove garlic and set aside.
Place pepper in a small bowl, and cover with plastic wrap until cool enough to handle. Remove blackened outer skin of the pepper, remove veins and seeds. Peel garlic.
In the bowl of a food processor, puree pepper and garlic. Add mayonnaise, capers, lemon juice, salt and pepper; pulse to combine.
(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)
Annie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.