New Year’s Eve Seafood Feast

New Year’s Eve party at our house always involves a seafood feast. There maybe mussels or clams, sometimes lobster or shrimp, sometimes all of them. One thing I always make, and everyone anticipates having, are my crab cakes. I have seen allot of crab cakes, and I have made allot of crab cakes, from classic to crazy. When it comes to crab cakes I serve to my family and friends the rule is that it is all about the crab, keep it simple. A few simple tips;
– When it comes to breading/binder I use the least amount possible to get it to just hold together
– Make the mix, form into cakes on parchment lined sheet pan, refrigerate for at least 20 minutes prior to cooking to firm up
– Dust the outside lightly with breading just before pan frying
– Pan fry in clarified butter, add whole butter on the flip and baste
– My favorite breading is crushed Ritz crackers (add a buttery taste and good binding), next is panko (good crunch on exterior when pan fried, have to let sit in fridge prior to cooking, otherwise will be crunchy on inside as well), homemade brioche breadcrumbs (really buttery but more soft pudding like texture when mixed as opposed to Ritz which stay granular), white bread panade, bread cubes soaked in milk and mashed (this is the most neutral and old school way, similar to Devil crab or old Imperial recipes
– I like Old Bay, in moderation, depending on the type of crab, for example I use less in a cake of our super lump than I do in one with our claw meat
– Our crab is already 100% cooked, do not overcook your crab cakes, especially if oven baking
– Everyone loves a good sauce, and they are simple to make with stuff in the fridge, even as simple as a 50/50 mayo/mustard “Dijonaise”
– Use your hands to mix it, especially if using Super or Jumbo lump, it is allot of work, and money, for those big pieces of crab, keep them whole!
– If cooking for a crowd, a cheap electric griddle does an amazing job on a dozen+ cakes at a time, add are nonstick
– Left over crab meat, yes it does happen, make it into a cake and freeze, as opposed to freezing the crab plain

– Chef John

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