Thursday, June 02, 2005

Crab Cakes

Crab Cakes

4 SERVINGS

These crab cakes are made with lots of crabmeat and not much filler, so they require gentle handling.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 red bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch dice
6 slices firm white sandwich bread, crusts discarded
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning (available in specialty shops and some supermarkets)
1 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped fine (wear rubber
gloves)
1 tablespoon minced garlic

Freshly ground black pepper

Salt

Tartar sauce and/or cocktail sauce

In a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and sauté the bell pepper until it begins to soften. Let the pepper cool. In a food processor, pulse the bread into fine crumbs. In a large bowl, stir together the bell pepper, crabmeat, cilantro, mayonnaise, Old Bay seasoning, jalapeño, garlic, 2 tablespoons of the bread crumbs, a generous grinding of black pepper and salt to taste. Combine the mixture well and chill it for at least 45 minutes.

With a ¼-cup measure, scoop the crab mixture into 8 portions and pat each into ¾-inch-thick disk. Spread the remaining bread crumbs on a sheet of waxed paper and gently press each crab cake into them, turning it to coat the cake evenly. To help prevent crumbling during cooking, chill the crab cakes, covered loosely, for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 250°F.

In a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil over moderately high heat until very hot and sauté half the crab cakes until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side, turning the cakes carefully. As the crab cakes are done, transfer them to a platter and keep them warm in a low oven. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the frying pan and sauté the remaining crab cakes in same manner, transferring them to the oven as they are cooked.

Serve the crab cakes with tartar sauce and/or cocktail sauce.