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 crabcakes1 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.