I have some exciting news. Paula Deen came to my house last night!!!
Okay... not Paula herself, just her crab cake recipe. Although I did make quite a few changes to the recipe. (Shhhh, don't tell her!)
When I eat crab cakes, I always think of this restaurant in Indiana which served the most delicious crab cakes (seems unlikely, I know, since Indiana is not known for seafood). But my sister and I would go there sometimes for a light lunch and share the crab cakes and a few drinks. I don't know what they put in theirs, but I wish I knew their secret. Maybe the crab cakes were just that good, but looking back, I think it was just having a relaxing lunch with my sister that made it memorable.
So when I went looking for a recipe, I decided to go to Paula, since I'm never disappointed in her recipes. I was surprised, though, that her recipe didn't call for any butter! I was prepared to cut it out anyway.
One of the changes I had to make was to the crab itself. Paula can afford pounds of real lump crab meat; my grocery budget only allows for "imitation crab-flavored fish protein product". Sounds tasty, doesn't it! But really, once it's combined with all the ingredients and browned on each side with a nice crispy, golden crust, the imitation crab tastes really good, so I don't think you have to spend a fortune to make crab cakes. These were moist and very flavorful from the green onions and a little grated cheese, had a nice crunch from the diced celery and they held together well while cooking.
Last weekend, Jamie and I bought a jar of "Good and Evil" pickles at a farmer's market in Paonia, CO, and let me tell you, these pickles are addictive. Slightly sweet pickles with spicy jalapeno slices make a great combination. And did you know you can make your own tartar sauce with just mayonnaise, pickles and lemon juice? We used our Good and Evil Pickles to give an extra kick to the tartar sauce with the jalapenos and it was so good--don't be shy, though. I think ours could have stood to be a little spicier.
I just made a simple salad, if you want to call it that, to eat with our crab cakes. Some fresh greens and sliced tomatoes, drizzled with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and sprinkled with freshly cracked salt and pepper paired really nicely with the crab cakes. (We also made some delicious grilled peaches, drizzled with honey and toasted pecans... more on that in another post, though...)
Crab Cakes with Good and Evil Tartar Sauce
(adapted from Paula Deen's Crab Cake Recipe)
Makes 8-10 crab cakes
- 1 pound crabmeat, or imitation flake-style crab
- 1 cup bread crumbs (I used half fresh, soft crumbs and half dried)
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 tablespoons diced aged proscuitto (optional)
- 1/3 cup grated cheese
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- dash cayenne pepper
- flour, for dusting
- vegetable oil, for cooking
Good and Evil Tartar Sauce
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2-3 tablespoons diced pickles and jalapenos (or sweet pickle relish)
- juice of 1/2 lemon
In a large bowl, mix together all the crab cake ingredients, except for the flour and oil. Use your hands to incorporate everything well. Form into patties (8-10 patties). Sprinkle with flour.
In a large, flat-bottomed pan, heat 1/2 inch oil over medium high heat. Sprinkle a few drops of water in the hot oil; when it sizzles, it's ready. Working in batches, cook the crab cakes for 4-5 minutes on one side until crispy and golden brown, then turn over and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Drain on a paper towel. Serve with Good and Evil Tartar Sauce.
For the tartar sauce, whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined. Make as spicy as you'd like!