Tuesday, January 8, 2013

crab cake fritters

It is amazing how two bags of fresh mussels, ready for steaming, costs $10, while one pound of crab claws, pre-cooked and frozen with no flavor what-so-ever costs $25. How does that happen?

I bought both for New Year's Eve and ended up using the crab a day later in this dish. It was really great: nicely crabby with undertones of garlic from the garlic water crackers I used as bread crumbs. And the curry flavor of in coating added a nice zing. I didn't have celery root in the house so I grated one stalk of celery. It added a nice flavor as well.

And I've now added to my growing repertoire of fritters {if these count}.

Crab Cakes from The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman {page 442}

For the cakes
8 ounces fresh lump crab meat, picked over for cartilage and shell
1 small celery root {8 to 12 ounces}, peeled and grated
1 egg
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons bread crumbs, preferably whole grain and homemade {I used crushed garlic water crackers}
About 1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons curry powder {optional}
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Lemon wedges, for serving
For the sauce {I didn't make the dressing and they were fine without it}
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped scallions

1. Mix together the crab meat, celery root, egg, and some salt and pepper. Add enough bread crumbs to bind the mixture just enough to form into cakes that don't crack too easily; start with 2 tablespoons and use more if you need it.

2. If you have the time, refrigerate the mixture for at least 30 minutes or up to several hours; it will be easier to shape. Meanwhile, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, cucumber, bell pepper, and scallions in a small bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir until well mixed; refrigerate the sauce until you're ready to eat.

3. Season the flour with salt and pepper, and stir in the curry powder if you're using it. Heat a large skillet {preferably cast iron} over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add oil and heat until it shimmers. Shape the crab meat mixture into 1-inch-thick cakes, dredge each in the flour, and cook adjusting the heat as necessary and turning once {very gently}, until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. {Work in batches if you're making small cakes; you don't want to crowd the pan.} Serve with lemon wedges and the mustard sauce.

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