Life is full of quests. The search for "the one." The quest for the perfect purse. And the pursuit of the ultimate crab cake.
If crab cakes are on the menu at a restaurant, I will order them, but, more often than not, I am disappointed. Too much filler. Not enough crab. Mushy texture. Not enough flavor.
It finally occurred to me that the ultimate crab cake might be found in my own kitchen. On the advice of a woman I met at Fish King on Christmas Eve, I used the recipe on the Williams Sonoma website. I cut the amount of breading in half and used Tabasco sauce instead of cayenne pepper. I used half and half instead of heavy cream. I doubled the amount of lemon and parsley.
The results were good. In fact, they were very good, but they were not the ultimate crab cake.
But the year is young, and who knows. I may find the perfect purse AND the ultimate crab cake in 2009. The search for "the one" may take a little longer.
Not the Ultimate Crab Cake but Pretty Darned Good(Adapted from williamsonoma.com)
Ingredients:2 slices French or Italian bread
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/4 cup minced green onions, including some tender green portions (3 or 4 onions)
1 lb. fresh-cooked crabmeat, picked over to remove any shell fragment
4 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup half and half
4 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. Tabasco sauce
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
Lemon wedges for serving
Remove the crusts from the bread and discard. Cut or tear the bread into small pieces and put into a food processor fitted with the metal blade or into a blender. Pulse a few times to make coarse crumbs; you should have about 2 cups. Place the crumbs in a large bowl and set aside.
In a small sauté pan over low heat, melt 1 Tbs. of the butter. Add the green onions and sauté until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the onions to the bread crumbs along with the crabmeat and parsley. Mix well.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the half and half and eggs until well blended. Whisk in the lemon juice, mustard, salt and cayenne pepper. Slowly add to the crab mixture, stirring continuously so the bread crumbs are evenly moistened. Form into 8 or 12 oval or round cakes about 1 inch thick. Put the flour on a plate or on a piece of waxed paper. Lightly and evenly coat each crab cake with the flour, shaking off any excess.
In a large sauté pan or fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the remaining 2 Tbs. butter with the vegetable oil. When hot, fry the cakes in batches, turning once, until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a warmed plate and keep warm until all the cakes are cooked. Serve immediately with lemon wedges. Serves 6.
In 2009, I plan to live simply and consume more champagne, sparkling wine, prosecco and cava. I also plan to continue my search for the ultimate crab cake recipe.