We made my deconstructed Hawaiian Roll and California Roll avocado soup for our big dinner party last week which left me with about 3/4 of a pound of sweet, juicy lump crab meat left over. We were having some friends over for pre-concert snacks before a show at The Palladium, and crab cakes hit the spot with a perfectly paired crisp and lively Laurent-Perrier Brut Milleseme 1999 which I had been holding for a while to serve on a special occasion…which came Sunday as what better occasion than a day to toast with dear friends. Definitely French, with bold aromas of apple and pear mingled with toasted vanilla and almond and stone fruit.
Crab Cakes with Dijon and Herb Aioli
3/4 pound lump crab meat (or the best you can find…just don’t use imitation….)
1 rib celery, chopped very fine
1 clove garlic, minced fine
1/2 small red onion, minced fine
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon salt and pepper each – divided
2 tablespoons parsley – chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro
2 whole eggs, whisked slightly
3 slices day old bread, crusts removed – we had rosemary bread left over from the previous night…added a yummy rosemary flavor
4 tablespoons fat free mayo
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
Vegetable oil for frying
Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and garlic with 1/2 the salt and pepper. Cook until the veggies are translucent and softened. Cool. Using a food processor pulse the bread into fine crumbs, set aside. In a bowl combine the mayo, Dijon, soy sauce, lemon juice and zest, cayenne, paprika, parsley, cilantro and remaining salt and pepper. Mix well. Pour half of the mixture into a serving bowl for the sauce, pour the other half into a mixing bowl. Add the crab (make sure the crab is picked through to remove any shells) to this mixing bowl with the onion, garlic and celery mixture, Worcestershire, bread crumbs and eggs. Mix well. Pour a good 2 cups or so of Panko into a bowl. Using your hands or an ice cream scoop form palm size crab cakes out of the mixture. Drop each cake into the Panko, coating generously on each side. Place each on a baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate at least an hour. After they have set, pour about 2 cups of vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. When the oil is hot cook the crab cakes in batches to a golden brown, carefully turning once. Drain the excess oil on paper towels and season lightly with just a bit of salt. You can keep them warm in a 200 degree oven while cooking the rest, or serve room temp. Plate on a serving platter with the dipping sauce.
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