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Monday, June 09, 2008

Maryland-Style Crab Cakes

June 6, 2008 - 0:24 ET
Porter House New York
10 Columbus Circle
4th Floor
New York, NY 10019

1 pound fresh jumbo-lump crabmeat, preferably blue crab, picked of shell fragments (see Note)
1 sweet red pepper, stem and seeds removed, cut into small dice
1 sweet yellow pepper, stem and seeds removed, cut into small dice
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and cut into small dice
1/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
2 cups fresh white breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil or vegetable oil
Chili Mayonnaise (recipe follows)

1. Put the crabmeat in a bowl. Add the red and yellow peppers, garlic, jalapeño, cilantro, and mayonnaise and stir together gently. Scatter the Old Bay seasoning, ½ cup of the bread crumbs, and the salt and pepper over the mixture, then stir gently but thoroughly. Cover the bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes; a cold mixture is easier to work with and shape into cakes.

2. Cover a work surface with waxed paper and sprinkle half of the remaining breadcrumbs over it. Scoop up and divide the crabmeat into 4 to 8 equal portions and place each mound on the workspace. Roll 1 portion of crab in the crumbs, pick it up, put it in the palm of 1 hand, and pat it with the fingers of your other hand into a tight, trim, disk-shaped cake, approximately 2 inches in diameter and ¾-inch thick. Repeat with the remaining portions, making sure they are the same thickness to ensure that they cook at the same rate.

3. Spread the remaining breadcrumbs out on the work surface and pat the cakes, 1 at a time, in the crumbs to coat them evenly on all sides. Put the crab cakes in a single layer on 1 or 2 plates, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and no more than 4 hours, so that they firm up enough to keep them from crumbling when cooked.

4. Pour enough oil into the bottom of a wide, deep-sided, heavy-bottomed sauté pan to cover the surface. Heat the oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the crab cakes gingerly, being careful not to crowd the pan. (You might need to cook the crab cakes in 2 batches.) Brown 1 side, approximately 3 minutes, then carefully turn the cakes over with a spatula and brown them on the other side, another 2 to 3 minutes. If browning the cakes in batches, transfer the cooked cakes to a nonstick cookie sheet and keep in a warm oven; add some more oil to the pan and let it heat up before browning the second batch.

5. Divide the crab cakes among 4 to 8 plates and drizzle some chili mayonnaise decoratively over each serving. Serve at once.

Makes 6 to 8 crab cakes, enough to serve 4 to 6 as an appetizer, or 4 as a main course.

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