Monday, October 18, 2010

Weekend Food

My idea of a perfect Saturday goes something like this:  hit the gym in the morning for a step or spin class, get sweaty and exhausted, come home, shower, go out for a nice lunch with Henry, run a few errands, wander around Whole Foods or Fresh Market to decide what's for dinner then come home and cook while watching the Food Network and/or old reruns of "The Sopranos."  Exciting life, huh?

But that's when I enjoy my (crappy) kitchen most - when I can take my time and make what I feel like, as opposed to throwing together a quick weeknight dinner.  In the case of this past Saturday, that meant crabcakes!

As usual, I got overly ambitious and decided to make a chocolate hazelnut pie as well (for an upcoming hazelnut blog post, stay tuned).  Oops, but what happened to the pie crust dough I thought I had in the freezer?  Oh wait - I threw it out a few weeks ago.  That meant making and chilling a brand new batch and by the time I got the thing in the oven, it was almost 7:30.  Oops, again.

So dinner may have been a little late that evening, but it was worth waiting for.  I served those lovely crab cakes with silky mashed potatoes and lightly steamed baby carrots with butter and fresh dill.  We polished off a bottle of Hendry rose, sat outside on our front porch and declared that we would definitely order this again.

These are the crabcakes we used to make when I worked at Watershed.  It comes from Scott Peacock and the recipe is in his book with Edna Lewis, "The Gift of Southern Cooking."  The quantities I use here are slightly different from the ones called for in his book, but this stretches the recipe a little bit and the results are equally as tasty (at least I think so).  I always make the entire recipe which yields 12 crabcakes so I can keep some in my freezer.  Then I can trot them out for a quick weeknight dinner or give myself a break from Saturday cooking and take a nap instead!


1 small loaf good quality bakery white bread, unsliced
1 pound lump crabmeat, carefully picked over
1 medium onion (preferably Vidalia), finely chopped
1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced then minced
Juice of 1 lemon
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and ground cayenne to taste
3 T. vegetable or canola oil
1 T. unsalted butter

Trim crusts from bread and cut bread into 1-inch chunks.  Place on a baking sheet in one layer and bake in an oven preheated to 350-degrees for 15-20 minutes until just golden, turning once.  Set aside to cool, then grind to fine crumbs in a food processor.  Measure out 2 cups and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the crabmeat, chopped onion, minced scallions, lemon juice, eggs and butter.  Stir in the reserved 2 cups of bread crumbs.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne.  Mix lightly with your hands until all ingredients are incorporated but do not overhandle.

Scoop out mixture and form lightly into cakes.  (I used a 2 1/2 oz. ice cream scoop for this).  Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

In a large saute pan, heat oil and butter over medium heat.  When pan is hot, add desired number of crabcakes and cook until just golden on one side (about 4 minutes) then turn and brown on the other side.  Serve immediately with lots of lemon wedges and (my recommendation) mashed potatoes.

Yield:  12 crabcakes

As I mentioned, you can freeze any crabcakes you don't use for another time.  Same goes for the bread crumbs - keep them in a ZipLoc bag in your freezer and use them as needed for other dishes.

No comments:

Post a Comment