Bob and I went to New York recently to visit our son Cole. We celebrated his 27th birthday with a round of Crab Cakes at The Palm in Manhattan. But if we'd been home, I would've made Cole's favorite fish fritter from scratch as I've done so many times.
Here's a meal where there're NEVER any leftovers! I love cooking Crab Cakes because they're always such a hit with the whole family. Besides tasting great, my bread-crumb-coated croquettes are quick and super easy so they work well for everything from busy weeknights to relaxed Sunday lunches.
Making them takes about an hour overall. You need 20 minutes to mix up the batter and shape the patties (an ice cream scoop comes in really handy here). That's followed by 30 minutes in the refrigerator (a perfect break for whipping up your sides) and around 10 minutes frying time.
The ingredients are all pretty basic. There's fresh onion and green pepper, margarine, eggs, Italian-style bread crumbs and lemon juice. Plus Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard and Tabasco to make things more interesting. And crabmeat, of course, but you can forget stopping at the seafood counter because my scrumptious recipe does wonders with canned crab.
I normally cook these cakes on the griddle built in to my range but it has problems. Besides not heating evenly, it can be a real pain to clean up. Forget dishwashing, you need steel wool, club soda and plenty of patience. So this last time, I tried a T-Fal Balanced Living Griddle ($49.99 at Macy's and Target.com).
Talk about improving my life! I didn't even have to turn on the stove thanks to this countertop appliance. Like my built-in, it has a large tray (9 ½" x 18") and takes about 10 minutes to heat up. But the T-Fal proved:
Once the fritters were done, the griddle even became a warming unit. I just unplugged it and left the patties on the tray while tossing our salad and getting the ice for tea. That kept them nice and hot till I was ready to put them on the table.
This recipe feeds two to three depending on how large you make the patties and doubles easily. For a true Southern experience, I serve these tasty Crab Cakes with ketchup (for me), tartar sauce (for Bob) and fresh lemon (for Cole) plus sides like coleslaw, French fries and Sweet Cornbread Muffins. No matter which way you go, this celebration-worthy dish is so simple you don't have to wait for a special occasion to enjoy it.
In a small skillet, sauté the onion and green pepper in 1 tablespoon margarine until veggies are soft. Pour into a medium bowl.
Add eggs and stir with a wire whisk until well blended. Stir in 1/3 cup bread crumbs, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, Tabasco and crabmeat. Use a fork to mix well.
Pour remaining 1/3 cup bread crumbs on a platter. Use an ice cream scoop to place the batter on the bread crumbs, forming 4 to 6 patties. Coat both sides of each fritter with bread crumbs and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Using a griddle or skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons margarine. Add the fritters and cook 3 to 5 minutes per side until golden brown and firm to the touch. Add more margarine to the pan if needed. Serve warm with ketchup, tartar sauce and lemon, if desired.
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