We get into “flavor grooves” quite a bit – I wouldn’t call it a rut since we actually enjoy it. We’ll eat something, decide we really like it, and then cook the heck out of that main ingredient until we’re tired of it. Lately it has been seafood. Specifically crab and salmon.
A while back, we watched a Throwdown episode dedicated to crab cakes. I thought of nothing else for two days afterwards. Crab cakes are one of those dishes that I’ll order at 20 different restaurants but never make at home on my own.
On my last trip to the grocery store, they were making crab cakes at the demo grill. I happily took a sample bite and then I more happily took the recipe card and went on my merry little way. Clearly, it was in the cards for us to make crab cakes at home.
A recipe for husband-approved crab cakes with husband-approved basil aioli follows:
Pecan-Crusted Crab Cakes with Basil Aioli
1 lb jumbo lump crab meat, picked over for shells
4 scallions, minced
1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 large egg, beaten
2 cups pecans, roasted and ground
1/2 cup vegetable or peanut oil for frying
Basil Aioli (recipe follows)
Gently mix the crabmeat, scallions, herbs, Old Bay seasoning, breadcrumbs, and mayonnaise in a medium bowl, being careful not to break up the lumps of crab too much. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Carefully fold in the egg with a rubber spatula until the mixture clings together.
Divide the mixture into cakes based on the size you desire, making sure that each cake is about the same thickness. Place the formed cakes on a baking sheet or platter and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the crab cakes for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
Just before serving, remove the cakes from the refrigerator. Place the ground pecans in a shallow dish and dredge the crab cakes, pressing the pecans into the crab cake to make them adhere.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Gently lay the crab cakes in the skillet; pan-fry them until the outsides are crisp and browned, about 4 minutes per side. Drain the cooked cakes on paper towels and serve immediately.
Source: Adapted from Central Market
1 egg, at room temperature*
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 clove garlic
1/3-1/2 cup basil leaves, washed and patted dry
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup canola oil
*Make it quicker – stick the egg in a bowl of hot water while you’re gathering the ingredients.
Add the egg, lemon juice, mustard, salt, garlic, and basil leaves to the bowl of a food processor. Turn on and process. Slowly stream the oils into the food processor. After adding all of the oil, process another 30 seconds. Place in a covered bowl and refrigerate up to 3 days.
Yields: Approx 1 1/4 cups aioli