Well, needless to say, neither dish is inexpensive to bring to the table here in the midwest. One of the first dinner parties we planned here found me at the Chicago Fish House seeking fresh crab. I stepped up to the counter and boldly ordered two pounds of the crab. I should have looked at the price! My face must have registered my shock because the lady at the cash register said "not from around here?"!! I took my very dear crab home thinking that the next dinner party would be prime rib, which was considerably cheaper.
Sometimes, though, you just have to have crab. I think it has gotten cheaper (Costco) or I've gotten over the cost. This recipe is one of the best I've tried. It comes from a very, very old Gourmet. Sometimes I add a tartar sauce and sometimes just a squeeze of lemon.
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.