These crab cakes are lucky they saw the light of day. You see, I forgot to knock wood in my last post when I hinted that I was getting unburied. After all, since two of my three kids just moved out (at least for the school year), how busy could I be?
Well, since then there have been… forgotten items to find and mail; missing scholarship funds to track; 75 lbs of peaches and nectarines to can; produce to put up for winter; a book club meeting to host; a newspaper photo shoot of my quiche and herbs (on a plant-wilting, 95 degree day) and of course all of life’s regular activities.
So when book club rolled around, I knew I needed to serve foods that were easy (e.g. artisan cheeses), but I also wanted to include one dish that was a little fancier. The winner was a “crabby snack” appetizer (enhanced from the Bon Appétit original by local blogger Erica and prepared for a food blogger get together last winter. It was a big hit there and also when I made it for another event (after which my remaining daughter secretly devoured the couple I’d hidden for photos).
The recipe is elegant, tasty and easier than it looks–other than getting it out of the pan. The first time I made it, I sprayed the pan with PAM and cooked them slightly longer than called for and I was able to knock them out by banging the pan upside down over a plate. For whatever reason, that didn’t work this time and I was stuck nudging out each individual mini-cake with a butter knife. Alas, this is not the best way to greet your guests, so next time I’ll follow the “do ahead” instructions below.
Mini Crab Cake Appetizer
Makes 36 mini-cakes
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- ¾ cup finely grated parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup sour cream
- Zest from 1 orange
- Zest from 1 small lemon (reserve lemon for dill sauce below)
- ½ finely diced red pepper
- 2 scallions (white parts only)
- 3 T chopped chives, divided
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 6 oz fresh lump crabmeat, coarsely shredded
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup melted butter, plus more to grease the muffin pans
1. Beat cream cheese by hand or with mixer until smooth. Add ¼ cup parmesan, egg, sour cream, orange zest, lemon zest, red pepper, scallions, 1 T chives, salt & cayenne pepper. Fold in the crabmeat.
2. Preheat oven to 350. Butter or spray the muffin pan.
3. Toss panko, ½ cup Parmesan and 2T chopped chives in a small bowl. Drizzle melted butter over, tossing until evenly moistened. Press 1 rounded spoonful panko mixture into bottom of each muffin cup to form the crust. Spoon rounded tablespoon crab mixture on top of each panko mixture. Sprinkle rounded teaspoon of panko mixture over tops of each crab cake.
4. Bake until golden on top and set, about 35 minutes. Serve with dollop of lemon-dill sauce (recipe below).
DO AHEAD TIP: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Arrange on baking sheet; let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in 350°F oven 6 to 8 minutes.
Lemon Dill Sauce
- 1/4 c sour cream
- 1/4 cup light mayo
- chopped fresh dill
- juice from lemon zested for crab cakes above
- salt & pepper to taste
Mix ingredients and serve with crab cakes.