Dungeness Crab Cakes
We are very fortunate to live and to boat in an area where dungeness and red rock crab are readily available through a good part of the year. During the open season, we are able to catch, cook, clean and preserve enough to cary us through until the next season.
While we are in open season, we feast on fresh caught crab dipped in butter or in wonderful salads while putting up the remainder for our use when fresh caught is not as available. The question then becomes: “How do we use the crab we so carefully and painstakingly gathered, prepared and preserved over all of those months”?
Crab Cake Recipe
My daughter and her husband Joe, just bought a house in Seattle and had a very nice house warming party. Our contribution to the food table was Crab Cakes. They were well accepted, thus driving this article. Since I scratched together enough for a party of 20 or 30 without any real recipe , I had to modify and reduce it for more realistic uses. The original concoction took 3 or 4 lbs of cooked and picked crab meat and made about 4 dozen crab cakes. Good for a party but not practical for most people! I’ve therefor reduced it to more manageable portions. Feel free to substitute and modify as your tastes and needs dictate!
10 Oz. Cooked, picked dungeness or red rock crab
1 cube (1/4 lb) butter
3 Green Onions – diced fine
1 Stalk Celery – diced fine
1/4 Sweet Red or Green Pepper or 1 jar Pimento – diced fine
3 – 4 oz. Mushrooms – diced – diced fine
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup mayonaise
1 cup crushed Ritz crackers or bread crumbs/croutons/stuffing cubes, etc…
1 – 2 eggs, Beaten
1 Tbs Tabasco, Tapatio, Louisiana Hot Sauce, etc… or 1/4 tsp Cayenne. Adjust to taste.
Salt and/or pepper to taste. (I didn’t add any.)
Saute’ onion, celery, peppers and mushrooms in 1 Tbs butter until onion is opaque.
Combine sautéed vegetables with remaining ingredients, except butter. Stir very gently. Because there is so little filler, it may be easier to handle if the mixture is refrigerated for an hour or more. This part can all be done the day before if desired.
Melt the remaining butter, form the mixture into 1 – 1 1/2 inch balls (heaping Tbs.), dip in melted butter and place on cookie sheet or shallow baking dish.
Bake at 350 deg.f for 15 minutes. If desired, switch to broil after 10 min. an finish off for the last 5 min. Once done, transfer to absorbent paper on serving dish (to take up excess butter) and enjoy! Can be baked ahead and served cold or reheated.
Wild Foraging Substitutes
When out and about, there are many wild forage substitutes that make this dish even more delectable. Wild cattail stalks will easily substitute for celery. Wild mushrooms are available as are fern fiddleheads (Make sure you know what you are doing!). Steamed nettles replace or substitute the peppers and onions. I’m sure that there are a lot of other wild forgeable ingredients of land and sea that would even further enhance this dish. Feel free to experiment comment!