Sunday, July 7, 2013

Boys and Crab Cakes

These guys are best friends, although they don’t see each other as much as they used to, because one lives in Colorado and the other is about to move to China. Every once in a while when gardening, I’ll find one of these guys
buried in a planter and I’ll be transported to another, simpler time, when summer meant freedom from schedules, bare feet, long afternoons at the lake and bonfires at the beach.

Last week when I was prepping for a boating trip I found the boys’ tiny little yellow life jackets. I remembered when I bought them. We were going crabbing with Uncle Dennis, my brother the professional fishing guide, just off the San Juan Islands, the setting for my novel, Hailey’s Comments. We caught more crab than we could eat and a few months later when we asked Nathan what he wanted for Christmas he said a “crab cage.”

Today, his brother Jared can no longer even eat crab or his face swells to look like a raspberry, but that was long before the allergies, careers and real life started. Back in the days of playmobile action figures and tiny yellow life jackets.

I can’t bring back those little boys or those lazy summer days, but I can still make crab cakes. I don’t even have to go to the San Juan Islands…although I really like it when I can. Crab cakes just taste better there. They say that hunger is always the best sauce, but nostalgia is the most bittersweet.

1 pound crabmeat, picked free of shells
1/3 cup crushed crackers (recommended: Ritz)
3 green onions (green and white parts), finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 egg
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
Dash cayenne pepper
Flour, for dusting
1/2 cup peanut oil
Favorite dipping sauce, for serving
In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients, except for the flour and peanut oil. Shape into patties and dust with flour.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, carefully place crab cakes, in batches, in pan and fry until browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip crab cakes and fry on other side until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Serve warm with preferred sauce.

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