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
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.
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.
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.