Crispy Crab Cakes with a Citrus Finish  Recipe
Crispy Crab Cakes with a Citrus Finish

By Diane Rossen Worthington

Here's an unusual citrus take on crab cakes. Juicy grapefruit accents the crab flavor and cuts the richness of the butter sauce. Pink grapefruit makes a pretty presentation. These crab cakes are full of chunky crab pieces with a bare minimum of bread to bind them together.

Dungeness crab, also called West Coast crab, is named after a small town in Washington State even though it is caught in Pacific waters from California all the way up the coast to Alaska. Compared to other varieties, Dungeness has a naturally sweet, buttery flavor that is well suited for this dish. Fresh Dungeness crab is available from early December through August. Alaskan king crab would work here as well. Whatever you do, don't substitute finely shredded crab or imitation crab (surumi) for this recipe.

These crab cakes cook best when the mixture is given a short time to chill before being sauteed. Chilling the crab cakes allows the binding to absorb some of the extra moisture so that the cakes will hold together well. Serve these crab cakes with a simple mixed green salad dressed with a light vinaigrette. To drink, pour a crisp, lively Chardonnay -- it will highlight the dish's interesting citrus flavors.

West Coast Crab Cakes with Grapefruit Sauce Recipe

Makes 8 Crab Cakes to Serve 8 as a First Course or 4 as a Main Course

Crab Cakes:

1 large egg

1 tablespoon whipping cream

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch of Old Bay Seasoning

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives

1 pound fresh Dungeness crabmeat, pulled apart into 1/2-inch chunks, not completely shredded

1/2 cup fine fresh breadcrumbs

1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs

Grapefruit Sauce:

1/2 cup fresh grapefruit juice

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 medium shallots, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut in cubes

Garnish:

2 whole pink grapefruits, peeled and sectioned

For sauteing:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1. Beat the egg in medium mixing bowl. Add the cream, mustard, salt, Old Bay Seasoning, and chives and mix to incorporate. Add the crabmeat and fresh breadcrumbs. Mix well to incorporate.

2. Spread the dried breadcrumbs on a cookie sheet. Divide the crab mixture into 8 crab cakes, shaping them into patties about 3/4-inch thick and 3 inches in diameter. (Squeeze well to remove any excess liquid.) Roll the crab cakes in the dried breadcrumbs using a spatula and then arrange them on a large plate. Cover the crab cakes with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (This can be made up to 4 hours ahead and refrigerated.)

3. While the crab cakes are chilling, prepare the sauce: In a heavy saucepan, boil the grapefruit juice, vinegar and shallots until about 2 tablespoons of liquid remain. Add the salt and pepper.

4. Over low heat, begin adding the cubes of butter, 1 or 2 at a time, to the shallot mixture, whisking constantly. Wait until they're absorbed before adding more. The sauce should thicken, but the butter should not melt. If the pan begins to get very hot, remove it from the heat and add some of the butter cubes off the heat so the sauce cools slightly. Remove the sauce from the heat as soon as the last butter cube is added.

5. Strain the sauce if a smoother consistency is desired. Taste for seasoning. Keep the sauce warm in a double boiler or thermos and serve as soon as possible.

6. Coarsely chop the sections of 1 grapefruit. Reserve the chopped grapefruit and whole sections for garnish.

7. Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium nonstick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Cook 4 crab cakes at a time until they are crispy, for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Be careful when turning them so they stay together. They should be golden brown on both sides. Place the crab cakes on a baking sheet in a 300 F oven to keep them warm. Add the remaining butter and oil and saute the rest of the crab cakes until golden brown.

8. To serve, place a dollop of chopped grapefruit in the center of each individual serving plate and arrange 1 or 2 crab cakes on top, slightly overlapping if serving more than one. Spoon some sauce on top and around the cakes. Garnish with whole grapefruit sections around the perimeter of each plate and serve immediately.

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Recipes: "Crispy Crab Cakes with a Citrus Finish "

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