Hey! Crab cakes are darn hard to pull off. Luckily, last night I hit a crab cake home run, thanks to two cookbooks — THE FOOD OF SANTA FE and Alton Brown's I'M JUST HERE FOR THE FOOD. There's a tendency in crab cakes to make them too rich, but the Santa Fe recipe was spot on — crab, bread crumbs, eggs (but not too many), parsley and Djon mustard (I subbed out a spicy brown mustard from Sierra Nevada made with their porter).
The accompanying sauce was whipped with with red onions, cilantro, oranges, roasted tomatoes, chilis and a bit of adobo sauce, mixed and then reduced with wine. What I got from Mr. Brown, my personal hero, was getting over my fear of frying. That's right...a scary admission from a Southern cook! When I was growing up, everything was pan-fired in "saved" fat, pulled from a frightening can of lard (stored on top of teh stove), Crisco, old bacon fat and god knows what else, saved from year to year as a study in bacteria culturing...yes, my mother once sent an entire Thanksgiving dinner to the hospital with food poisoning, but that was because of a "casserole"made of canned English peas, Velveeta and warm mayonaise. I wisely fed my serving to the dog, who threw up.
Anyway, I'm not a great fryer. Last night I just took a deep breath, a couple of glasses of wine (Benziger Family Winery's chard...I love that vineyard and the wine), a 10-inch well-seasoned cast iron skillet, a thermometer and 1/2-inch of vegetable oil...perfect! I may have to address the calamari issue next week.
Of course we had to grind out a snowy hike today to pay for those crab cakes!
And Happy New Year!