Crab Cakes with Mustard and Herbs

Crab Cakes have a reputation as a super decadent dish, but they are really quite simple to make. In this recipe, one pound of crab meat is tossed gently with fresh herbs, mustard, sour cream, and almond flour, briefly chilled, and then quickly pan fried in a little olive oil or butter.

Dungeness Crab season is approaching in Oregon and I am fantasizing about sitting on a Newport dock, sipping on a robust stout while my crab pot sits on the bottom of the bay, luring my dinner in through its one-way door. It’s a terribly sunny day with no wind on the Oregon Coast in this fantasy, by the way.

Whether or not you make it out crabbing this winter, fresh Dungeness will be readily available from December through April, and when it’s not in season, canned claw meat is not at all difficult to find.

So on a harried weeknight this winter, when you’re sick and tired of roasting every darned thing, remember this recipe, and know that a dinner of tender crab cakes is less than an hour away.

Mustard and Herb Crab Cakes
*makes 10-12 crab cakes*

8 – 10 stems Italian parsley, leaves only
8 – 10 stems mint, leaves only
5 or 6 stems fresh dill
about a dozen chives (enough for 2 Tbsp. chopped)
1# fresh Dungeness crab meat or canned crab claw meat of any variety
2 Tbsp. sour cream
2 Tbsp whole grain dijon mustard
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 C. almond flour
1 tsp. coarse salt
freshly ground black pepper

olive oil or clarified butter for frying and lemon slices for serving

Prepare parsley, mint, and dill by stemming and roughly chopping. Slice the chives as well and transfer all of the herbs to a medium bowl.

Add the crab meat, sour cream, mustard, beaten egg, almond flour, salt and pepper, and mix gently to combine. Do your best not to break up any nice chunks of crab claw.  Transfer to the fridge to chill for 15 minutes for easier handling, or up to one day.

When you’re ready to cook the crab cakes, preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Heat a wide saute pan over medium heat.  Once hot, add enough olive oil or butter to thinly coat the bottom of the pan.

With damp hands for easier handling, form the crab cakes into  approximately 1.5” disks about 1/2” thick.  Place carefully into the hot oil, at least one inch apart, and fry for 3 – 4 minutes per side or until deeply golden brown.  As they finish, transfer the crab cakes to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or paper towels.  Once all the cakes have all been browned, place the sheet pan in the oven for 10 minutes to finish.

Serve the crab cakes with a squeeze of fresh lemon, or with my green goddess dressing if you’re in the mood for something particularly rich.

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