Saturday, November 26, 2011

Panko-Crusted Crab Cakes with Arugula Salad

                                                                                                                                 Photographs by Rachel Horesovsky

I first had these crab cakes at the legendary Fearrington House in Fearrington North Carolina.  I think they are the perfect crabcake.  Very moist and meaty with loads of flavor.  There is just enough binder to hold these delicate patties together.  YUM.

I have made a few modifications to the Fearrington recipe.  I substitute fennel for celery.  I think the anise flavor is a perfect companion to the sweet crab.  I also added a simple panko crust to the outside because I love the crunch of panko.
Scallion, red bell pepper and fennel...

For a perfect first course to a meal, these are best served on a very simple arugula salad with a light champagne vinaigrette.

A large platter of crab cakes and arugula salad...

Panko-Crusted Crab Cakes with Arugula Salad
makes 2 dozen small crab cakes

1 lb lump crabmeat
1/2 cup finely diced fennel
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
3 Tbsp butter
4 scallions, thinly chopped
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 cup, plus 2 cups panko bread crumbs
2 egg whites, whisked until just frothy
1 stick butter for frying.

Gently squeeze handfuls of crab to remove excess water.  Place crab in a medium bowl.

In a large skillet melt 3 tbsp butter.  Add fennel and red pepper and scallions and saute for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat. 

In a large bowl combine lemon juice, pepper, salt, mayonnaise, egg, mustard and worcestershire sauce.  Whisk to combine.  Add sauteed vegetables to bowl. and mix gently.  Add crab to bowl and toss gently to combine.  Add one cup of the panko to the crab mix and toss gently until just combined.  Gently press mixture into 24 small patties.

On two small plates, place frothy egg whites, and 2 cups panko crumbs.  Carefully dip crab cakes in egg whites and then roll lightly in panko.  Place on wax paper until ready for frying (These can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to fry).

In a large non-stick skillet melt 1 stick of butter.  When butter is melted add half of the crab cakes and fry over medium heat until cakes are golden brown, flipping once.  Serve immediately with arugula salad.

Arugula Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette
1 lbs baby arugula, rinsed and patted dry
2 Tbsp champagne vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/8 tsp salt and pepper
4 Tbsp olive oil.

Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until combined.  Drizzle dressing over Arugula and toss to coat.

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