by Executive Chef Stephen Trojahn
Serves 4 (1 crab cake per person) as substantial bar bites
Crab cakes never go out of style. At the '21' Club, Executive Chef Stephen Trojahn serves what may be the most classic of all bar bites, from what many consider to be New York's classiest bar. At '21', the chef boils the crabs from scratch, and shapes the patties with ring molds. Home cooks can use eight ounces of lump crab from the seafood counter or a pasteurized container, and shape the cakes in ramekins, or similar molds. When you mix the crabmeat mixture together, don't be alarmed if it looks way too soupy. I found that when the formed cakes were chilled for 30 to 45 minutes, they held their shape well and the results were outstanding. You'll need an oven-proof skillet for this recipe.Vegetable Mixture
Cucumber Ginger Salad (optional; see recipe below)
Prepare the vegetable mixture: Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium-low heat. Add the jalapeño, bell pepper, onion, salt, and white pepper. Cook the vegetables (do not brown them), stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the vegetables cool.
Prepare the crab cakes: In a mixing bowl, combine the yolks, lime juice, and Tabasco and mix well. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, chives, cilantro, parsley, and cayenne and whisk well. Stir in the crabmeat and the vegetable mixture. Add the soft breadcrumbs, and 1/4 cup Panko crumbs. Mix well.
Set out four 3-1/2-inch ramekins. For each ramekin, line with plastic wrap, layer 2 tablespoons Panko crumbs in the bottom, followed by 1/4 of the crab mixture, and another 2 tablespoons Panko. Pat the mixture down and seal tightly with the plastic wrap. Refrigerate about 45 minutes until chilled, so the cakes keep their shape. Shake any loose Panko off before dropping the cakes into the skillet.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Warm 1/4 cup olive oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat, until semi-hot (a few crumbs gently sizzle). Carefully add the crab cakes to the pan, cook slowly for about 3-1/2 minutes, then turn them over. (Be gentle when you flip them. Their chunkiness makes them a tad fragile.) Add the thyme springs and butter to the pan, place in the oven, and cook for approximately 3-1/2 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the pan. Serve immediately, with Cucumber Ginger Salad.
Mix the cucumber slices with the ginger, pickle juice, and rice vinegar. Mix in the dill, season with white pepper, and serve.
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