E and I discussed crab cake sandwiches while at Fairway. We meandered over to the fish counter at Fairway, confident they’d have fresh crab meat by the pound.
The fishmonger pointed to the pre-made crab cakes in between the salmon cakes and the stuffed salmon fillets. “You don’t have fresh crab meat?” I asked. Then he pointed to the half pound tubs of prepackaged crab meat sitting in the front of the case. “That’s all we have.” It said ‘fresh’ on the carton. Figured it couldn’t be that bad. I already had breadcrumbs plus all of the seasonings needed, including Old Bay. Dinner should have been no-sweat.
I mixed up the cakes quickly, but I made a mistake in the recipe—it said to only add 3/4 of the 1 1/2 cup of bread crumbs needed for the recipe, then coat the cakes in the rest for a breaded crust. I added the breadcrumbs all at once. My cakes had more bread than crab, but they held together after some careful molding and refrigerating for 10 minutes.
I fried ’em up until they were golden brown, drained them on a paper-towel lined plate, then borrowed this recipe for aioli, which really wasn’t aioli and I have no idea why they called it aioli. Where are the eggs? Should have just used tarter sauce.
I served all of this up for E on whole wheat buns and crisp Boston Bibb lettuce. Though the recipe called for crushed jalapeños, I had hot sauce at the ready in case the cakes needed a kick. E took the first bite.
“Hmm.” he said.
I took my first bite.
“This is not good,” I said.
“It’s not bad,” he said.
“But it’s not good!”
E took another bite. He looked like he’d bit into an old sweat sock.
“Stop eating. Dinner over.” I declared.
I should have waited until I get fresh crab meat and not used that craptastic prepackaged stuff. I looked at my sad stinky crab cake, my bready, stinky crab cake and stuck my lip out. I don’t know if the crab meat or too much bread crumbs were to blame, but dinner was inedible.
E gave me a hug. “Baby, it’s okay. It still counts.”
I felt comforted that he at least he appreciated the effort. That right there is what makes a good boyfriend. He loved the effort of making dinner more than the dinner itself. “I still think you’re a great chef, even if this wasn’t perfect.”
I smiled. Then I chucked dinner in the trash and started the dishes.
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 jalapeño, seeded, finely chopped
1 pound lump crabmeat
1 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4-5 leaves Bibb lettuce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Mix the first six ingredients into a bowl. Fold in the crab meat, then add 3/4 cup of the bread crumbs. Next fold in the seasonings. Form into six round patties, then place in refrigerator on a paper towel lined plate for at least ten minutes.
Warm the vegetable oil in a medium skillet. Place remaining 1/2 cup breadcrumbs on a plate and grab crab cakes from the refrigerator. Coat cakes with breadcrumbs, and brown each until golden brown on each side, about 3 to 4 minutes each, flipping once. Remove from heat when brown and place cakes on a paper towel lined plate to drain oil.
Toast buns. Remove from heat, slater on mayonnaise, tartar sauce or dijon mustard, place lettuce leaves on bottom half of sandwich. Place crab cake on top of lettuce, then top with other side of bread.
If you dare to try this at home, the recipe is adapted from here.by