Friday, December 23, 2016

Free Range Friday ~ Culebra

I was in Milka's the other day, wanting something different to eat, when I spied some crab claw meat in the freezer section. It was ten bucks, which seemed fair enough for something that would make a few meals for one person, so I went for it.

 I thought about what went into making crab cakes and figured I had the goods. Oops. I didn't. 

From Fine Cooking

  • 1 lb. jumbo lump or backfin lump crabmeat, fresh or pasteurized
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1-1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1-1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce Kosher salt
  • 1-1/4 cups fresh breadcrumbs (from soft white sandwich bread, such as Pepperidge Farm)
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • Lemon wedges for serving
First, I did have an egg, mayonnaise and mustard (which the above recipe doesn't call for but I do) and lemon. I didn't have paprika or Old Bay or parsley or bread crumbs, or anything to make bread crumbs, like buns, crackers or any other bread like thing. But there I was with thawed crab meat and no fridge (or ice for the cooler) so it was time to double down and make it anyway. 

And they turned out pretty darn good, despite missing some ingredients!
This is the first batch. One crumbled, but it was just me, so no stress.
If you can get lump crab meat, that would be the way to go ideally (wait, ideally would be to catch your own blue crabs, but ideal isn't always possible, so we make do). 

If you do have all of the above ingredients, or if you don't, this is a general idea of what to do with them.

Drain the crabmeat, if necessary, and pick through it for shells ( jumbo lump will not have  shells). Put the crab in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg, mayonnaise, mustard, Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Scrape the mixture over the crab and mix gently until well combined. Gently break up the lumps with your fingers but do not overmix.
Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and the parsley over the mixture, and mix them in thoroughly but gently; try not to turn the mixture into a mash—it should still be somewhat loose. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours.
Shape the crab mixture into 8 cakes about 1 inch thick. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. When the butter is frothy, add the cakes to the pan (8 should fit comfortably). Cook until dark golden brown on the underside, about 4 minutes. Flip the cakes, reduce the heat to medium low, and continue cooking until the other side is well browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over the cakes.
The number of crab cakes is spot on. 8 might not sound like much but these are  big cakes, and 8 would easily serve 4 people. 
Two were more than filling. Really.
Milka's and Superette Mayra both have frozen crab meat. And now I'm ready for next time, with bread crumbs and paprika (still no Old Bay, but that's okay). If there is no fresh parsley the next time, I'll go with dried, yes I will!
Buen provecho!
Have a feastable Friday. Do something fundamentally fun!


  1. Crab cakes, one of my specialties. My recipe is very close to your's with a few tweeks. I use panko instead of bread crumbs, I like the crunch the panko makes on the crust. I use Old Bay, but also add a similar spice mixture I bought in Seattle. A few days ago I made crab cakes from 3 lbs. of fresh jumbo lump crabmeat a friend brought back from the NC shore. She bought the crab I did the work. We ate part and froze the rest for New Years. I also make the best remoulade sauce you ever tasted. Now that I know there is crab on island...well we'll just see, but I'll be prepared.

    1. You have thrown down the gauntlet so bad!!! We won't 'just see' we will be (this is the royal we, you understand) in expectation mode. Of course, our frozen crab meat vs. your fresh jumbo lump crabmeat from NC (you are cruel, you know), can't compete, so your recipe will have to make up the difference. Forewarned, forearmed!

  2. I have been forewarned and shall arrive forearmed, ready to face the gauntlet. En garde, my dear friend! ;-))

  3. Uh-oh. Crab cake challenge. I'd put mine (and our remoulade) up against anyone's. Bring the video cameras, time for the Culebra Crab Cake Cook Off.

    1. Oooooohhhhhh! My oh my! I want Ann in on this, she makes a mean crab cake as well. If y'all bring your own crab, you each have to bring enough for us who only have the frozen kind to play with. Fair enough? Let the games begin!