My love affair with crab cakes began back when I was in college. Living in Baltimore provided ample opportunity to dine on Maryland blue crabs and I probably had my first crab cake at one of my favorite weekend destinations-Lexington Market-the historic food emporium located downtown. The market houses not only vendors selling fish, meat and produce but also an incredible variety of prepared foods. No matter what I else I bought, I always ended up up with a crab cake in hand.
I’m a long way from Baltimore now but my crab cake obsession is still going strong. I’m always tempted when I see them on a restaurant menu, but more often than not, I end up being disappointed-too much filler and not enough crab. Now when I have a craving I whip up a batch crab cakes from the first Barefoot Contessa cookbook. These are the crab cakes of my dreams-mostly crab and little else, just the way I like it. I’m telling you-make these for your next dinner party and you’re guests will be clamoring for another invite!
Crab Cakes (adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
1/2 cup small-diced celery
1/2 cup small-diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup small-diced yellow bell pepper
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1/4 cup Italian parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound lump crabmeat
1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup good mayonnaise
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
about 1/3 cup bread crumbs
Place 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion, red and yellow bell peppers, celery, parsley, capers, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay, salt and pepper and saute until the vegetables are soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl break the crabmeat into small pieces. In another small bowl mix the beaten eggs with the mayonnaise and mustard and mix well. Add to the crabmeat, toss and then add the 1/4 cup breadcrumbs and mix. Cover and chill for 30 minutes. Shape into small patties-about 20.
Heat the butter and the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Spread the remaining breadcrumbs on a plate. Dip each crab cake into the breadcrumbs to coat. Fry for 4-5 minutes on each side until browned. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately with a remoulade sauce or keep warm in a 250 degree oven.