Armadillo Café Crab Cakes


Main Dish

Armadillo Café Crab Cakes

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter

1/2 cup each finely diced yellow bell pepper, scallion and celery

2 shallots, finely diced

2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced

1/4 cup each finely chopped cilantro and parsley leaves

3 large basil leaves, chopped fine

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives

1 pound fresh lump crab meat, picked clean of shell fragments

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons heavy cream

3/4 cup dried bread crumbs

Salt, cayenne and Old Bay Seasoning to taste

To finish:

2 eggs

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup or more all-purpose flour

1 pound or more panko bread crumbs

Olive oil for frying

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Melt butter and sauté the peppers, scallions, celery, shallots and jalapeños until soft but not browned. Transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in chopped herbs, crab meat, egg, 2 tablespoons cream, bread crumbs and seasonings. The consistency should be firm enough to form a cake; if not, add bread crumbs. Form the mixture into 10 cakes; place on a sheet pan and chill for 10 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, in a medium-size bowl, whisk the eggs and cream. Place flour in a second medium-size bowl and crumbs in a third. Remove the cakes from the refrigerator. Roll each one lightly in the flour, then carefully dip (one at a time) in egg mixture and immediately into crumbs. Coat each cake well and compress slightly to form a thick, 21/2- to 3-inch round cake. Place on a clean sheet pan and refrigerate. (May be made up to one day in advance.)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat about 1/2 inch of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet. Brown the cakes on each side. Place on a clean sheet pan and finish them in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Serve hot with a spicy homemade mayonnaise or fresh lemon wedge. Makes 10 cakes.

Per cake: 478 calories, 18 g protein, 46 g carbohydrate, 24 g fat (13 g saturated), 46 percent calories as fat, 2.7 g fiber, 171 mg cholesterol, 653 mg sodium.

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