Things are looking up! I’ve been able to sleep through the last few nights in a row (gasp!) and my left eye has finally stopped twitching, haha. Getting up at the more reasonable time of 10 a.m. this morning I felt human for the first time in weeks. I cleaned my room, paid the bills, went grocery shopping, and spent two hours giving my poor goldfish the TLC they desperately needed. With a squeaky-clean tank and brand new plants I hope they’re feeling the love.
I suppose it’s a bit inappropriate to segue into a seafood post just now, but since I’m not talking about fish exactly I hope Howard and Pearl can forgive me. Today’s recipe is for some quick and light crab cakes that will help liven up your backyard BBQs – assuming you all are luckier than us VTers and still have a backyard above water. We rarely have crab cakes around here and those offered at our limited seafood restaurants always seemed like oily, heavy bricks to me. So, finding a crab cake recipe that was not only simple but also rather light immediately got me excited.
I have to be honest here, however, and admit that since I already had mayo and sour cream in my fridge I did not buy fat-free versions just for this recipe…the mayo was canola-based though so that counts for something, doesn’t it? Anyway, I’m posting the recipe as I made it because A. I’m sure it tastes better and B. you’re only eating one-sixteenth of a Cup of mayo per cake and even less sour cream so, honestly, I believe the taste is well worth the extra calories. By all means, though, use the low-fat versions of each if you’d prefer – it’s an easy enough swap.
I’ll take a moment now to mention Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. If you haven’t noticed the link on the right-hand side of this blog, please take a minute to check it out. They have many handy guides to help you buy sustainable, healthy seafood without hassle. I have their iPod app and – let me tell ya – it’s fantastic. I use it whenever I want seafood, either at a restaurant, sushi bar, or for my own cooking. Because I couldn’t find shelled crabmeat at my Co-op I used the source recipe’s recommendation of Wild Planet brand canned crabmeat that’s sustainably caught and canned in BPA-free packaging. You didn’t know I was such a hippie, did you?
Crab Cakes with Dill Sauce (adapted from Light and Healthy‘s 2010 Edition)
For Crab Cakes…
1 lb. jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over to remove cartilage and shells
¼ C mayonnaise
2 – 4 T plain Panko
2 T Dijon mustard
4 scallions (green parts only) minced*
2 t minced fresh dill
2 t minced fresh parsley
1 t Old Bay Seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1 large egg
2 T canola oil
lemon wedges for serving
* Note: I did not include scallions in my cakes because my bunch went bad before I had a chance to make this recipe (see my rant in the last post) and I didn’t want to buy another when I had plenty of dill and parsley to make up for it.
For Dill Sauce…
¼ C mayonnaise
2 T sour cream
1 T fresh lemon juice
2 t minced fresh shallot
2 t minced fresh dill
¼ t salt
low-fat milk as needed
- Gently fold the crabmeat, mayonnaise, 2 Tablespoons of the Panko, mustard, scallions, herbs, and seasoning together in a medium bowl being careful not to break up the lumps of crab. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Carefully fold in the egg white with a rubber spatula until the mixture just holds together, adding the remaining bread crumbs as needed.
- Divide the crab mixture into 4 portions and shape each into a round cake about 3″ across and 1½” high. Transfer the cakes to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
- As the cakes are chilling, prepare the Lemon-Dill sauce by mixing the mayo, sour cream, lemon juice, dill, shallot, and salt together in a small bowl. Add milk as needed to thin to the desired consistency. Cover and chill along with the cakes for up to 24 hours to allow the flavors to develop.
- Heat oil in a 12″ nonstick skillet over Medium-high heat until shimmering. Gently add the chilled crab cakes to the pan and cook until well browned on either side, flipping halfway through – about 8 minutes. If you’re concerned with burning, dredge the cakes in a bit of flour before adding them to the skillet. I completely forgot this step and my cakes turned out fine, but if you might want to try this precautionary step.
- Transfer cakes to a paper towel-lined plate to drain briefly. Serve with a dollop of Lemon-Dill Sauce and lemon wedges.
These cakes are winners all-around. You get full, sweet crabmeat taste with tangy herbs and just a hint of mustard. The source recipe calls for normal breadcrumbs, but I used Panko both because I already had it in the cupboard and also because I was curious as to how it would compliment (or ruin) the recipe. I’m very happy to say the Panko worked out perfectly: you get its support in structure without tasting a lot of filler. I suppose you could even skip the fresh herbs in favor of seasoned Panko if you really want to simplify things, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The fresh herbs really create a great flavor you wouldn’t find in dried seasoning.
Both my brother (who orders crab cakes whenever possible, oily bricks or no) and my father (who is a very conscientious eater) gave this recipe a thumbs-up. My brother’s only complaint was that he thought a butter sauce would be better for seafood and didn’t like the lemon-dill sauce, but my father and I both really enjoyed the creamy-cool alternative to a heavy butter dip. Give it a try and tell me what you think!
Overall Enjoyment: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥