Capture the Coast

Crab Cakes with Spicy Mustard


By Jessica Burns

Seafood is a staple in Florida and it seems my family doesn’t go long without including a seafood recipe in the dinner lineup each week, so I was excited to try out the Crab Cakes with Spicy Mustard from the Capture the Coast cookbook. This dish would be a perfect new addition to the rotation or an experiment, depending on the outcome.  Before I began I was excited because I love crab cakes and have really enjoyed some delicious variations while dining out, but then I became nervous because I never even considered how you make a crab cake.  Is it like a cake you bake, but with crabmeat instead of normal sweet mix-ins?  I panicked even more when I got to Publix and didn’t know where to find lump crab meat. Thank goodness for those friendly employees who can always lead you to what you are looking for.  In this instance, I was looking up in the fresh case when I needed to be looking down in the pre-packaged refrigerator case.  Deep breath!

Of all the ingredients, I had the majority of them in my kitchen already – flour, eggs, Dijon mustard, horseradish, cayenne pepper, Old Bay, panko bread crumbs (they are amazing if you’ve never used them), and canola oil.  I really only needed to purchase the fresh ingredients consisting of the crab meat (of course), green onions, red bell pepper, jalapeño, chives, and heavy cream.  It’s amazing how much stuff you actually have in your pantry, when you can actually find what you’re looking for!

I started out by making the spicy mustard so it would have time to sit in the fridge.  The mustard consisted of:

1 ½ tablespoons whole grain mustard

½ cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 ½ teaspoons horseradish

Then I chopped up all of the fresh ingredients, so they’d be ready to mix in when needed.  Pictured below are half of one red bell pepper, one jalapeno pepper, 2 green onion stalks, and 1 tablespoon of chives.

When I was done chopping, I went ahead and measured out all of the other ingredients so I could just toss them in when called for.  Once everything was ready, I turned on the stove and sautéed the veggies, along with 2 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream.  The mixture was to be cooked until “blonde,” which threw me off since the red peppers were pretty prominent in the warm mash.  It definitely didn’t look blonde to me, but I followed the directions and it smelled delicious.

As the mixture was cooling, I began working on the crab cake mixture.  I combined the following ingredients together:

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon chives

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

Once everything was mixed together, I began to fold in the cooled vegetable mash until it was well blended.  I added a dash of salt and pepper to taste, which was the last step before dividing the cakes out.  I wasn’t sure how dividing the cakes would turn out, but I got 12 evenly sized crab cakes.  I dipped the cakes in eggs, they were beautiful.  I forgot to read the line about putting them in the freezer for at least thirty minutes before cooking.  Oops, my family was hungry!

Now the next part is a bit embarrassing because I needed to enlist my husband’s help.  For some reason, I can’t fry things.  They either end up too dark, too light, or too dark or light on one side and not the other.  So, my husband was gracious enough to do the frying once the cakes had set for the required time.  The recipe called for the cakes to be fried on each side for 2 minutes until golden brown.

I set the fried crab cakes on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up some of the oil.  Once they cooled a bit, I sprinkled them with salt and pepper and served them with the spicy mustard. We each had one crab cake for dinner with a nice salad, and it was a perfect meal.  I even mentioned to my mother-in-law that we had some leftover crab cakes and over the following few days, when I got home from work I noticed another crab cake was missing.  She had been coming over at lunch time to eat our leftovers!  According to my mother-in-law, those are the best crab cakes she’d ever had.  And, I have to agree – the recipe is perfect just the way it is.  Enjoy!

Crab Cakes with Spicy Mustard (Capture the Coast page 36)

SPICY MUSTARD

1 1/2 tablespoons whole grain mustard

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons horseradish

CRAB CAKES

2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions (about 2)

1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper (about 1/2 red bell pepper)

1 jalapeno chile, seeded and finely chopped

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons heavy cream

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1 teaspoon cayenne peppper

1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

1 pound lump crab meat

Salt and black pepper to taste

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 eggs, beaten

2 cups Japanese bread crumbs (panko)

1 cup canola oil

For the spicy mustard, mix the whole grain mustard, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and horseradish in a bowl. Prepare the day before and store in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to blend.

For the crab cakes, melt the butter in a 9-inch saute pan over medium heat. Add the green onions, bell pepper and jalapeno chile and cook until soft. Stir in 2 tablespoons flour. Cook over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until light blonde in color, stirring constantly. Stir in the cream. Remove from the heat. Combine the egg yolks, Dijon mustard, chives, cayenne pepper and Old Bay seasoning in a mixing bowl and mix well. Add the vegetable mixture a small amount at a time, stirring constantly. Fold in the crab meat. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Divide into twelve equal portions and shape into crab cakes. Dredge in 1 cup flour. Dip into the beaten eggs and then dredge in the bread crumbs. Place on a tray. Freeze for 30 minutes or up to 10 hours. Heat the canola oil in a deep frying pan to 350 degrees. Place the crab cakes carefully in the hot oil. Fry for 2 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. Turn and fry until golden brown. Remove to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper to taste. Serve with the spicy mustard for dipping.

Yield: 6 servings

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