It is crazy how lucky I am to live in a place where the world's greatest crab is available at insanely cheap prices. w and I tend to get that "I have to have it...now!" glint in our eyes with ever increasing regularity during the cold weather months when our Dungeness crabs are at the peak of their delicious powers. Usually when the "need" strikes we'll head up to ABC Seafood on SE Powell and have them yank a couple of unlucky specimens out of their hot tub-sized holding tanks and take them home, all the while listening to them clawing futilely to escape their paper sack in the back seat. Which is actually kind of creepy to listen to...something you know that has these sharp pinchy claws and is probably really pissed off making this "scratch...scraaatch" sound right behind you while you drive, like they're going to jump up and grab you from behind..."You think I'm going into that pot of boiling water, asshole? Guess again!"
But this time there was no such fear as our local QFC market had already-boiled crabs on sale for a measly $4.99 a pound. $4.99!! As soon as I saw their ad, I knew crab cakes were shortly to follow. We LOVE crab cakes. So savory, so delicious, and if you follow Mark Bittman's perfect recipe, so easy! These are all about the crab, with very little filler to distract you from the whole point of your efforts: to eat some kick ass crab! With our Dungeness crab cakes, I don't make any sauce, just a squeeze of fresh lemon juice is all I want. This recipe makes six really good sized crab cakes, so if you can restrain yourself you'll each have one left for breakfast the next day (I had mine with a poached egg...yum)!
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Dungeness 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)
1/4 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. Serve with lemon wedges.