‘21’ Crab Cake
Everyone loves crab cakes. This classy version, as served when Michael Lomonaco was the executive chef at New York’s famed ’21.’ adds cilantro, Old Bay seasoning, and a pungent chili mayonnaise to make an irresistible starter.
- Lumb Crabmeat - 1 pound, fresh, jumbo
- Olive Oil - 2 tablespoons
- Red Bell Pepper - 2 tablespoons, diced
- Yellow Bell Peppers - 2 tablespoons, diced
- Jalapeno Chili - 1 tablespoon, minced
- Garlic - 2 teaspoons, minced
- Mayonnaise - 3 to 6 tablespoons, preferably homemade
- Cilantro Leaves - 1/4 cup, fresh, coarsely chopped
- Breadcrumbs - 2 tablespoons, dried
- Old Bay Seasoning Mix - 1-1/2 tablespoons
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Chili Mayonnaise
- Mayonnaise - 1/2 cup, preferably homemade
- Thai Chili Sauce - 1 to 2 teaspoon, or to taste
- Dijon mustard - 1 tablespoon
- Prepared Horseradish - 1 tablespoon
- Breadcrumbs - 1/2 cup, dried
- Olive Oil - 1/3 cup
- Unsalted Butter - 1 tablespoon
- Tomato - 1 large, peeled, seeded, and diced
- Chives - 1-1/2 tablespoons, snipped fresh
Clean the crabmeat carefully to remove all shell fragments, but try to keep the lumps intact. In a medium saute pan or skillet over high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and saute the bell peppers, chili, and garlic for 1 minute; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the crabmeat, 3 tablespoons of the mayonnaise, cilantro, breadcrumbs, and the sauteed mixture. Add the seasoning mix, salt, and pepper. Mix well, and if the mixture is dry, add more mayonnaise to bind. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
To make the chili mayonnaise: In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Place in a squeeze bottle and set aside.
Form the crab mixture into 8 equal-size balls and pat each into a disc. Place the breadcrumbs in a shallow dish and press each crab cake into the crumbs, one at a time, to coat all sides evenly.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a large skillet over high heat, heat the olive oil until it is almost smoking. Add 4 of the crab cakes. Lower the heat slightly, add half of the butter to the pan, and fry the cakes for about 1 minute per side, or until light golden colored. Remove the fried cakes to a baking sheet and place in the oven for 5 to 6 minutes to finish cooking. Repeat to fry all the remaining cakes.
To serve: Place 1 crab cake in the center of each serving plate and drizzle some of the chili mayonnaise around the edges. Garnish each plate with 3 small mounds of diced tomatoes, then sprinkle with snipped chives.