Get Crabby!

Ours is a house divided. Mr. B will go to great lengths to eat his favorite crawfish, including flying them in by the sack each spring for his one and only boil. I, on the other hand, would like for nothing more than to have blue crabs arrive at my doorstep, hamper after hamper.

But, alas, that never happens--though, I will give it to Mr. B since he's always willing to entertain the idea.

To me, eating crabs is a summer pastime, but living in California, our crab season doesn't arrive until December, and even then, it doesn't build momentum until the cold, rainy (hopeful, here) days of January. Then, Mr. B will surprise me with dinners of his famous garlic roasted Dungeness crab with plenty of French bread to soak up all the marvelous juices.

I've no complaints about my winter crab feasts, except, perhaps that we don't have them every night. But, I do miss those long summer days when I would sit outside, wilting in the humidity and heat, a tray of boiled crabs before me, an icy cold beer nearby, pick and nutcracker in hand, and the radio playing in the background. Time would seem to come to a standstill and the afternoon would hang endlessly in the heavy air, and me, well. I'd happily pick away at my crabs, extracting every last possible piece of meat from within their shells.

I don't recall whether or not there was ever enough crab meat leftover to fashion a single crab cake, but I'm betting there wasn't; I was a thorough and methodical picker. That said, I'm fairly certain that my love of crab cakes didn't develop until New Orleans was but a distant speck in the rear view mirror and I was forced to feed my crab cravings in other ways.

Years ago, I discovered canned crab meat in the refrigerated section of a grocery store and ever since then, I'll pick a can or two up and whip up a batch of crab cakes. They're a perfect summer supper served under a blanket of remoulade sauce, or topped with a fried egg, the yolk still runny.

Since they're tedious and time consuming to make and form, I tend to go big and make rather large batches so that there are always extras in the freezer. It may not be the same as picking a tray of grabs, but I can still eat them in my swimsuit.

Mel's Crab Cakes
4 pounds of crab meat (claw and leg is fine)
1 cup of good quality mayo
6 eggs and 3 egg yolks
1/2 cup finely minced red pepper, celery with leaves, sweet onion
1/4 cup of capers
5 tablespoons of hot sauce (Crystals)
3-4 tablespoons of Old Bay
1-2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
2-3 tablespoons of Worchestershire sauce
Panko breadcrumbs

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, mayo, hot sauce, Worchestershire sauce, and seasonings.
2. Gently fold in the crab meat, red pepper, celery, onion and capers.
3. Add just enough breadcrumbs to hold the mixture together.
4. Scoop 1/3 cup portions and form into patties; set aside on a sheet pan lined with wax paper.
5. Once all the patties are formed, place the pan in the freezer for 20 minutes, or until the patties are firm to the touch, but not completely frozen.
6. Count out as many as you'd like to cook. The rest can be frozen in packs of 4 to 8 and frozen for later use.
7. When ready to cook, heat a half inch of oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat until hot.
8. Dip the crab cakes in an egg wash (2-3 eggs whisked together with a tablespoon of water) and then coat in Panko crumbs.
9. Fry until golden brown and crispy.
10. Serve with remoulade sauce.


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