Now I’ve found that a once- or twice-monthly Costco trip is essential. There are certain pantry staples that can be found there at such great prices: Italian cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino and fresh buffalo mozzarella; extra-virgin olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, organic eggs, and one-pound cans of lump crabmeat.
When I find a can of crabmeat in my refrigerator near the end of another busy day when I didn’t make it to the grocery store, I feel like a mom in a Hamburger Helper commercial, reaching for the package and breathing a big, relieved sigh.
Mixing up a batch of crab cakes couldn’t be easier, is way healthier than any meal that comes out of a box and makes just about everyone happy.
I’ve been experimenting with different recipes, and this one stood out as a winner the other night.
Crunchy Crab Cakes with Chili Aioli
adapted from Fresh Every Day by Sara Foster
Makes about 10 crabcakes 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked through for bits of shell
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (I leave the seeds in for extra heat)
2 scallions, white and light green parts finely chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise, divided
Grated zest and juice of one lemon
2 cups panko crumbs
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon Asian chili garlic sauce
1 teaspoon fresh lemon or lime juice
Place the crab in a large bowl along with the peppers, scallions, lemon zest and juice, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup panko. eggs, salt, black and cayenne peppers, and cilantro. Mix gently until well combined.
Spread the remaining 1 1/2 cups panko on a shallow tray or baking dish.
Scoop the mixture with a 1/4-cup measure or a small ice-cream scoop and form into cakes about 2-inches in diameter. Dredge the cakes in the panko to coat them lightly on both sides. Arrange them on a large plate or tray, cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. When I’m in a hurry, I stick them in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the cakes about 3 minutes per side, or until browned. Transfer to a paper-towel lined platter. (Keep them in a warm oven if you need to do these in batches)
Stir together the remaining mayonnaise, garlic sauce and lemon juice until smooth. Serve with the hot crab cakes.