These crabcakes were a big achievement. Let me tell you why.
When Kyle and I were in Seattle, we bought a GIANT box of seafood to bring home with us. One of the things we put in this box was a whole crab. (SCARY). Here he is (I call him Crabby):
Now, I’d never dealt with a whole entire crab before. So it was kiiiiind of an experience. And of course, I’m the moron who named the thing Crabby and then had to come to terms with dissecting my new friend. Whoops. There may have been awkward terrified dancing around the kitchen like I was a five year old who doesn’t want to eat her vegetables.
But, after what seemed like FOREVER, I had taken the whole thing apart and successfully extracted enough meat for a few crabcakes (wahoo!)
The verdict, though? For the amount of effort it took to get half a pound of meat out of the crab (not to mention getting the thing all the way to the midwest from Seattle), it wasn’t totally worth it. If I did it more often, I’m sure I’d get better at it, but taking the crab apart made me miss out on hanging out with the friends we had over for dinner and made for a longer time spent in the kitchen PLUS a giant mess I then had to clean up. For special occasions, sure – I liked that is was fresher and that I could see exactly where the crab meat was coming from. But for everyday cooking? I think I’ll stick to pre-picked lump crab (but from companies I trust, of course!) Maybe if and when I move back to the west coast (or if I end up on the east coast – a whole new adventure!) I can make whole crabs a part of my cooking routine. Hmmmm…possibilities.
Also, if you’re thinking to yourself, “hmm, these pictures look swankier than normal,” you are CORRECT! My super awesome parents got me a brand new 50mm macro lens for my camera as a Christmas gift, and I couldn’t be more stoked. Prepare for posts with zillions of pictures, because I am suddenly having more trouble than usual deciding which photos are my favorites. Solution: use them all!
Cilantro Crabcakes with Dijon Corn Salsa
Makes about 10 large crabcakes (20 appetizer-sized)
1 lb. lump crab (about 2 cups, if you’re picking the meat out of whole crabs instead of buying packages of lump crab meat – I got a little over half a pound of meat out of one medium-sized crab)
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
4 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tsp. lemon juice
dash of hot sauce (about 1/8 tsp.)
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 recipe dijon corn salsa
1. Mix worcestershire sauce, dijon, egg, salt, pepper, mayonnaise, cilantro, lemon juice, and hot sauce together in a large bowl.
2. Fold crab meat into mixture.
3. Add 1 cup of the breadcrumbs and mix until combined. Test the mixture by pinching off a piece of it and rolling into a ball – if it sticks together and isn’t too moist to hold its shape, it’s ready! If it’s too moist to hold its shape or feels wet/runny to the touch, add more breadcrumbs 1/4 cup at a time until the mixture will hold together.
4. Shape the crabcakes. Roll a small handful of the mixture into a ball with your hands, then flatten it gently to make it about 3/4″ thick (about 1/2″ thick if you’re making appetizer sized cakes). Make sure each cake is uniform in size (especially in thickness!) so that they will cook evenly. At this point, you can freeze the cakes or keep them, uncooked and covered, in the fridge for up to a week.
5. When you are ready to cook the crabcakes, spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat it over medium heat until the pan is nice and hot. Place the crabcakes down on the hot pan, being careful to leave space between each crabcake so you have room to flip them. You should hear a nice sizzle when you place them on the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until sides are brown and crispy. Serve immediately.
6. Serve crabcakes with dijon corn salsa and remaining salsa dressing. You can serve extra dressing in a dish on the side or spread some on a plate under the crabcakes, like I did in my pictures. Yumm-o!