17 February, 2012

Crab Cakes | The Pat Conroy Cookbook

Pat Conroy's Crab Cakes ingredients
Makes 4 servings (8 crab cakes)
1-LB lump crabmeat, picked over and cleaned, with all shell fragments removed
1 egg white, lightly beaten (until just foamy, not stiff)
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp fresh chives, finely snipped
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp coarse or kosher salt
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp peanut oil

For serving:
Lemon wedges

Notes: small pastry spatula (with a thin tongue) will make lifting and turning the delicate crab cakes a lot easier.

Total Time: 60 to 120 minutes
Place the cleaned crabmeat in a medium mixing bowl. Pour the egg white over crabmeat slowly, stopping occasionally to mix it through. 

When the crabmeat has absorbed the egg white and feels slightly sticky to the touch, sift the flour over crabmeat and sprinkle the chives, black pepper, cayenne, and 1 teaspoon of the salt evenly over the top. Lift the crabmeat from the bottom of the bowl, turning it over gently, to mix the ingredients without overhandling.

Separate the crabmeat into 8 equal portions and gently roll each between the flattened palms of your hands to form loose balls. Flatten slightly and transfer to a plate. Sprinkle both sides liberally with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cooking.

Line a baking pan with paper towels. 

Fry the crab cakes in two batches to ensure a crisp crust. Using a small (8-inch) heavy skillet that conducts heat well, melt half the butter and oil together until the mixture is foamy and begins to brown. 

Carefully place the crab cakes in the hot fat and fry until a crust forms, turning only once, about 2 minutes per side. (The fat should be sizzling hot, enabling a crisp crust to form before the crab absorbs the cooking fat. This is the Southern secret to perfect crab cakes.) 

Remove the crab cakes and drain in the prepared pan. Cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm while you make the second batch.

Carefully pour off the cooking fat from the first batch, wipe out the pan, and return it to the heat. Prepare the second batch of crab cakes using the remaining butter and oil.

Serve hot with lemon wedges.

This recipe is from Pat ConroyThe Pat Conroy Cookbook (New York: Doubleday a division of Random House, Inc, 2004), xx. 

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