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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Seasonal Faux Pas

I know we all have predicaments of craving a dish that is far from seasonal but sounds amazing at the moment. I got home from work the other night and was really thinking about some perfectly cripy edged and melting buttery-centered crab cakes. I have been to Baltimore and sampled some excellent specimens and some that were subpar, but the object of perfection in my opinion has a hint of sea saltiness, a bit of an herbal note, and a hit of spiciness to balance out the richness.

With the impending snow on the way, that is now piling up, I had crab meat up to my wrists and the scent of Old Bay wafting around the kitchen. I have been dabbling in curing over the last couple months with a simple bacon and pancetta under my belt and dreams of a meat grinder in my near future. The herbal salty kick of the pancetta  with crisp edged crab cakes resting atop a thin sliced tomato seemed like an excellent dinner, even with the snow flinging itself against the windows.
Sriracha Bay Crab Cakes
1 # crab claw meat
1 1/2 T mayonnaise
1 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp sriracha chili sauce, or to taste

7 T buttered cracker crumbs, such as Ritz
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning, plus more for garnish
1/2 tsp dried oregano, plus more for garnish
1 egg
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

3 oz. pancetta sliced into batons
canola oil for frying
2 tomatoes thinly sliced

Mix all the crab cake ingredients together and form into patties the size of the tomato you are serving them with (about the circumference of a baseball seems just right). Stick the cakes onto a sheetpan in the freezer for 20 minutes to chill enough to make them maintain shape. Fry pancetta for about 3 minutes in a cast iron skillet, or until a deep mahogany shade and remove, leaving drippings in pan. Add enough oil to fill pan 1/2 inch deep. Fry crab cakes until they are a crisp pecan brown, regulating heat until it warms the cakes all the way through when both sides are crisp. Serve crab cakes over a tomato slice with pancetta cracklings on top sprinkled with oregano and Old Bay. Enjoy.


Fresh Local and Best said...

I miss crab season on the west coast with the abundance of sweet tender meat that would be so useful right now for me to try this wonderful and creative recipe.

Hylic said...

yum yum, must taste good!!

Emily Malloy said...

No faux pas at all. I just bought lump crab meat to make the same this week :-)

Drick said...

everybody's doing crab lately and I am so glad to see it - always like a cake without much breading, pure crab meat is the test to me of a good cake, yours certainly fits the bill... like them too on tomatoes, sometimes letting the ripe tomatoes melt just a bit under a broiler or my favorite, the ol' standby, fried green tomatoes with a remoulade...

RamblingTart said...

Ohhh, how scrumptious! I adore crab cakes and love that you added pancetta to yours! That takes it up an oh-so-delicious notch. :-)

A Canadian Foodie said...

No seasonal faux pas to me! In the Alberta Prairies this is the season of indulgence... and that is exactly what crab cakes are to us. Special. Rare. Delicious, and particularly indulgent. Yours looks manifique!

A Canadian Foodie said...

I see you have feedburner, but have not activated the option it has to let readers subscribe by e-mail! Let me know when you do!

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