Celebrating California’s Crab Season

We’re just back from Dillon Beach, California.  Friends with a beach house there invited us out for crab season.  ( Lucky us!) They took us to Paisano Bros.in Bodega Bay for fresh dungeoness crabs; one for each of us for dinner that night and an extra for crab cakes the next.  We’re talking super yummy, super do-able by any cook, crab cakes.  If you live in a land-locked place like I do, use canned lump crab or shrimp.  Might be just the thing to make for your sweetie for Valentine’s….these crab cakes taste fresh and citrus-y, with a bit of heat on the finish.  Mmmmmmm!  You’ve got to give ’em a try!

The recipe comes from the Mediterranean Kitchen by Joyce Goldstein and is called:  Portuguese Crab Cakes with Mint and Cilantro.

First of all, assemble your ingredients.  Use fresh herbs for the freshest taste in your cakes: 

     1/4 cup unsalted butter

     2 onions, finely minced   (approx 1 1/4 cups)

     4 ribs of celery, finely chopped

     1 TBSP dry mustard

     1 tsp cayenne

2 pounds crabmeat, picked over to check for cartilege

1/2 cup good quality mayonnaise

2 large eggs

3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 TBSP fresh grated lemon zest

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup dry bread crumbs, such as panko

1 cup olive oil, or as needed for frying

Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan, over medium heat.  Add the onions and celery and saute until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the dry mustard and cayenne, stir well and cook an additional 3 minutes.  Let cool completely.

   Add the remaining ingredients except the dry bread crumbs and oil to the onions and celery and combine well, taking care to leave lumps of crab whole.  


Shape into 16 patties, approximately 1/2 inch thick.  Coat each cake in dry bread crumbs.  ( At this point, cakes can be refrigerated on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper for up to 24 hours.)


Heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Add as many crab cakes as will fit without crowding, working in batches if necessary, and saute until golden-brown, about 3 minutes on each side.  (Use a spatula in each hand to assist in flipping the cakes)  Drain on paper towels.

Our friends served them over a lightly-dressed baby arugula salad.

We had a pound of crab to work with, so we cut the recipe in half.  2 crab cakes for each of us, served as an appetizer.  I could have eaten them all!  They were THAT yummy!


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Filed under appetizer, dinner, lunch, recipe

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