Monday, June 11, 2012

Recipe: Oceanaire Crab Cakes

Have you ever eaten at the Oceanaire Seafood Room? Years ago when the boyfriend and I were first dating and we lived in Washington DC, I took him out to dinner there. All the attorneys at the firm we worked at raved about the crab cakes, so of course we had to try them. Unlike the attorneys, though, the firm was not footing our bill. So we ordered a single crab cake a la carte as an appetizer rather than get the crab cake dinner. I was really hoping it lived up to expectations since one crab cake with nothing else cost $18.

Well don't you worry because this story has a happy ending. The crab cake was freakin' fantastic! First of all, it's more like an overflowing mound than a "cake." And second, the flavor was rich and interesting without overpowering the crab. I liked it so much that I didn't even feel ripped off! The bf found the recipe online shortly after that, and I've made it two times since. Recently, we combined cooking forces: I whipped up the crab cakes with some smoked paprika aioli (from this recipe), and the bf grilled some asparagus with basil and parmesan. (His new specialty, so good!) Even with crappy canned crab meat, it was still so good. You have to try it for yourself!

You'll need:
2 eggs
1 cup mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/4 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning, divided
3/4 teaspoon fresh chopped tarragon
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped celery
1/4 pound (scant 2 cups) crustless cubed white bread (about 1/4 loaf), cut into small cubes
1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, drained of any liquid
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Whisk together the eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, three-fourths teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning, tarragon, onion and celery to make a dressing.
3. Toss the bread with half of the dressing, mixing until the dressing is absorbed by the bread and the cubes are slightly broken up. Add additional dressing if the cubes are too dry.
4. Gently mix in the crab, being careful not to break up the lump pieces. The mixture should hold its shape when formed into a ball with your hand. If it is too dry, add additional dressing until the mixture comes together. You might not use all of the dressing.
5. Divide the mixture to form crab cakes. Place the cakes on a greased cookie sheet or sheet pan.
6. In a small bowl, stir the butter together with the remaining one-half teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning. Top each cake with a small dollop of the seasoned butter.
7. Bake the cakes until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Serve warm.