I started the day yesterday going through the remaining recipes in the August section of Cooking Light 2014, looking for ones that sounded good, had ingredients I’ve never used, or were cooked in a way that I’ve never tried—and in the end, I selected the recipes to make for the last 15 days of the month. And, because I am at the beach and the seafood can’t get any fresher, I decided on the one to make for that day: “Open-Faced Crab Cake Sandwiches with Tzatziki.” I can’t even begin to express how happy I was that I chose this recipe to make. It was amazing—in fact, “amazing” doesn’t even do it justice—superb, incredible, decadent, impressive are just some of the words that come to mind as I think back on the taste of last night’s dinner.
I’ve never made crab cakes before, in fact, the few times I’ve eaten crab cakes, I’m always struck by how much filler there is inside them, and how much breading is used to coat them. I love crab, but I want a crab cake that highlights the flavor while still knowing that you are eating crab—not a pile of mush. This recipe did just that. It called for “lump crab meat” so I purchased “jumbo lump crab meat” from the local fish market—not knowing what the difference would be, but liking the sound of “jumbo.” Then, I made the filler, which really was anything but filler. It consisted of a small amount of diced red pepper, thinly sliced green onions, 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs, greek yogurt, lemon juice, lemon rind, fresh dill, salt, pepper, and an egg white. When I add the crab meat to it, I noticed that the crab was definitely the predominant ingredient. As I began to form the patties, I made sure not to “mush” the crab too much, and I began to worry that I wasn’t forming them correctly, as they felt like they could fall apart at any second. I then had to dredge them in an additional 1/3 cup panko—which wasn’t easy as I didn’t want to add to much breading and they started to fall apart in the transfer from crumbs back to the plate. I just crossed my fingers that once I started to pan fry them, they would all come together.
While I made the crab cakes, my mom pulled together the ingredients for the tzatziki—greek yogurt, diced cucumber, fresh garlic, and black pepper.
As they cooked, the little bit of panko on the outside became a golden brown, and the crab cakes had the most wonderful aroma. We decided that we would rather have the crab cakes served on a bed of baby spinach rather than the slice of sourdough bread—which turned out to be a prefect decision, as the whole meal took on a restaurant quality feel to it. Then, topping it with the tzatziki, the flavors just exploded. This was honestly unlike any crab cake any of us had ever eaten—there was minimal filler, the crab was in large chunks, and the flavors were fresh and clean—you could almost taste each separate ingredient—from the dill to the red pepper, and the garlic in the tzatziki—but none stood out above another, and it all came together perfectly.
I think I went to bed last night dreaming of these crab cakes.
I can’t wait to make them again.