Did you know that 45% of Americans eat out multiple times in a week? I was one of those people. I love good food, and feel so lucky to live in the DC metro area, where we have hundreds of amazing places to choose from that range from funky little ethnic dives to the very elegant and high end Michelin starred spots. But for the moment, we’re all cooking more at home. Sure, I’ve done some takeout, and I absolutely want to support my favorite independently owned restaurants, but most of my meals are made in house these days. That said, you can only roast so many chickens and grill so many steaks- sometimes you want something a little more fancy and festive! One of my favorite “special occasion at home” recipes is crab cakes. These are simple and delicious with minimal filler and a slightly unconventional recipe – I add capers for a little salty zing. If you don’t like capers, just leave them out! I’m southern, so didn’t grow up with Old Bay – you can certainly put it in if you like, but I feel it can sometimes be overkill.
Here we go:
1 pound crabmeat- for special occasions or guests I spring for the jumbo lump, but backfin is just fine!
1 medium shallot, diced- milder than onions, so adds a nice touch without overpowering. Saute these in butter until softened and lightly browned
½ a red, orange, or yellow pepper- diced and sautéed as per the shallots
Mayonnaise- about 3-4 tablespoons- ignore the horrible “olive oil” mayonnaise in the photo. It is SO gross! But I wasn’t at my house when I cooked these and that’s what was there. I promptly replaced it with regular Duke’s, which is the gold standard for mayo, at least if you’re from the South, like me
½ cup minced flat leaf parsley. Curly is fine too, but if you’ve got to buy the parsley try and get flat
4 tablespoons bread crumbs- I like the seasoned panko, but whatever you have on hand will do
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons capers
Several sloshes of Texas Pete hot sauce. Tabasco is too hot, but you could also use Crystal
Put all of these items into a large mixing bowl and gently stir to combine. You want it to hold together just a bit, so add more mayo and bread crumbs a little bit at a time until the mixture holds its shape when you pack it. Pack into whatever size patties you like. Crab is rich, so a little goes a long way. One pound will easily serve four (eight patties). Pack each patty tightly! Put them on a plate and refrigerate for at least an hour. Melt butter in a skillet on medium high. Gently put the patties into the butter, making sure you have plenty of room between them- flipping them is a delicate business. Gently lift one with a spatula periodically to check – you want a nice crusty brown on them, as in the final photo. When they’re ready, GENTLY flip them, being careful not to let them fall apart (but if they do, they’ll still taste just as good!). Cook the other side to the same crispy brown. Serve to your happy diners with some veggies on the side. Last time I made these, I sautéed some broccolini in garlic butter with a little white wine added. I’m also addicted to Texas Pete, so like to slosh a little on top of my cakes, too. Champagne or Prosecco is the perfect accompaniment to these, but a nice crisp Sauvignon Blanc works well too. Enjoy!