Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Back in the Day with Gourmet" Crab Cakes

I'm still on my gourmet Gourmet nostalgia trip. These crab cakes are from the same issue as the tomato salad a few days ago. And, as in that issue, they were served with the salad alongside. It is a delicious pairing.

In our days of living in Charleston, S.C., crabs were just a chicken neck tied to a string away.  And, if that wasn't possible, crab was inexpensive to pick up from the fish mongers.  Imagine my surprise at the prices the Chicago Fish House charged!  Costco has very good crab packed into one pound tins and I'm sure most large supermarkets have something similar.

This recipe for crab cakes is one of the best I've tried.  Alas, when I had everything in the bowl except the eggs, I found two lonely eggs in the refrigerator.  My crab cakes only suffered in the holding together department and we ate them with great relish.

Gourmet, August 1993

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, beaten slightly
6 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 cup minced fresh flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
2 pounds lump crab meat, picked over for shells
2 cups fine bread crumbs
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup vegetable oil
lemon wedges to accompany

In a bowl whisk together the butter, eggs, sour cream, parsley, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, salt, and cayenne and gently stir in the crab meat and bread crumbs.  Form 1/2 cup measures of the mixture into twelve thick crab cakes and transfer to a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with half of the cornmeal.  Sprinkle the rest of the cornmeal over the crab cakes and chill them, covered with plastic wrap, for at least an hour to overnight.

In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking.  Saute the crab cakes in batches, turning them once, for three to four minutes on each side, or until golden brown.  

Serve with tartar sauce.

Makes 12 crab cakes, serving 6.