GINGER-AND-CILANTRO CRAB CAKES
A good crab cake consists mainly of crabmeat, not breading, as is so often the case.
It should taste of fresh crab, be well seasoned and be bound just enough to hold the
crabmeat together into a cake form, and be crisp on the outside, yet not greasy. This
crab cake recipe fulfills these rigorous criteria. It is inspired by some silver dollar-sized
crab cakes I had years ago at Barbara Tropp's inspired Chinese restaurant in San Francisco,
China Moon, which were redolent with ginger and cilantro and had mild chile pepper heat.
Fat and calories are reduced by replacing the egg yolks with egg whites, trimming the
traditional mayonnaise binder, and frying the cakes in the reduced amount of oil in a nonstick skillet.
Serves 4 as a Main Course, 6 as an Hors D'Oeuvre
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For the Crab Cakes:
*If you want to economize, you can make these cakes replacing up to one third of the crab
with flaked cooked mild white fish.
2 slices (1 1/2 ounces) fresh white sandwich bread (see Note)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 teaspoons dry sherry or sake
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 pounds fresh lump crabmeat
3 large egg whites, beaten
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
For the Chinese seasonings
1 1/2 cups fresh cilantro leaves, cleaned and spun dry in a salad spinner
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 scallions, cut into 1/4-inch rings (about 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Chinese or Thai chile paste
, or to taste
|In a food processor, process the white bread to soft crumbs. (You should have 1 cup.)
Scrape them into a medium bowl; set aside. Add the cilantro, ginger, scallions, chile paste,
mayonnaise, sherry, salt, and sugar to the work bowl, and process to make a thick paste, about
15 seconds. Scrape into the bowl with the bread crumbs.|
|Blot the crabmeat dry with paper towels. Add the crabmeat and egg whites to the bowl
and toss lightly with a fork to combine, taking care not to break up all the lumps of crabmeat.
Shape the crab mixture into twelve 2 1/2- to 3-inch patties and place on a baking sheet lined with
waxed paper. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, and up to 4 hours, to dry the patties out slightly.|
|Preheat the oven to 200°F.|
|In a nonstick 10-inch skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil over moderate heat. Using a spatula,
gently slide 6 of the crab patties into the pan. If they break apart, simply press them back together in
the pan — they will set as they cook. Fry, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side.
Transfer to an ovenproof platter and keep warm in a low oven while you fry the other 6, using the remaining 1
teaspoon oil. Serve at once.|
|Note: You can use 4 to 6 tablespoons dry bread crumbs instead of the fresh crumbs,
though the crab cakes will not be quite as moist or as tender. Add only enough to absorb the excess moisture
without the mixture becoming dry.|
You can make the patties up to a day ahead; cover and refrigerate.
Let come to room temperature for 15 minutes before frying.|