Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Feeling Crabby

Not to rub it in, but I feel for all of you poor, hungry eaters who live in other parts of the country, because every year about this time I get pretty fucking smug about the fact that I can buy one of the greatest treats in the entire food world, something that is so sweet, succulent, and entirely too delicious for a mere $3.99 a pound at our local markets. What could it possible be, that envelopes me in feelings of peace, joy, and gustatory well-being? The only possible answer is Dungeness Crab season here in the NW.

w and I live for this time of year. She get positively giddy at the prospect of breaking apart their reddish -pink boiled little bodies to get at the sweetly satisfying meat inside. Crab eaters fall into two camps. w and I happen to personify this dichotomous eating style. There are your crab cleaners who eat as they go (w), who can't wait for that first bite. Then there are your crab cleaners who have just enough self control who don't eat as they go (bb) so they end with a nice big pile of crab at the end that they can shovel into their mouths at will.

Whichever flavor of crab eater you are, make sure you leave enough crab at the end to make these absolutely wonderful crab cakes from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything". Unlike most restaurant crab cakes that rely on fillers where it's like eating bread with a minute bit of crab, these are almost pure, unadulterated crab eating joyfulness, with just a bit of chopped seasonings, mayo, a tiny bit of bread crumbs, and egg as binder to hold them together. With some gentle handling through the cooking process, you'll end up with some crispy, perfect rounds of seasonal seafood perfection.********************

Crab Cakes
adapted from How to Cook Everything
time: 20 minutes plus refrigeration time

1 pound fresh lump crabmeat (make sure all cartilage is removed)
1 egg
1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
1/2 cup scallion
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons plain bread crumbs, or as needed
about 1 cup flour for dredging
1 teaspoon curry powder (optional)
2 tablespoons peanut, olive, or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter (or use all oil)
lemon wedges for garnish

1-Mix together crabmeat, egg, bell pepper, scallion, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper. Add sufficient bread crumbs to bind the mixture just enough to form into cakes. Start with two tablespoons and use more if you need it.

2-Refrigerate the mixture until you are ready to use it (it will be easier to shape if you refrigerate it for 30 minutes or more, but is ready to go when you finish mixing)

3-Season flour with salt, pepper (and curry if you like). Preheat a large skillet, preferably non-stick, over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the oil and butter and heat until the butter foam subsides. Shape the crabmeat into six cakes, carefully dredge each in the flour, and cook, adjusting the heat as necessary and turning once (very gently), until golden brown on both sides. Total cooking time will be about ten minutes. Seve with lemon wedges.


pril said...

when i lived on the coast, my friends and I got pretty dang smug that other people paid for crab, when for us it was just a matter of patience at the water's edge. ;)

Anonymous said...

I'm sitting on the Atlantic feeling smug about the fresh bay scallops out of Frenchman's Bay. When scallops are finished my BIL will rig his boat for shrimp, then halibut, then back to lobster and crab until it's time to start all over. It's hard to beat fresh seafood.

I'm bookmarking the recipes so that I don't forget to come back to these. They look excellent.

bb said...

pril-I meant to say "pretty DANG smug" but it just came out differently!! But I know what you mean. it's a good life on the left coast!

Seasons....and I see it's not to f-cking bad on the east coast either! That sounds awesome....fresh scallops...all too rare here where they are almost always frozen at some point. Enjoy!!