About 15 years ago, we had an epic snowfall over the Christmas holidays. Not that it takes too much for us to be excited, as in this area more than a foot is remarkable. This storm brought us about 3½’ of snow over a couple of days. Just when we thought it was over, it would start again. We have walkout horse stalls, and I can remember the snow sliding off the barn roof towards the snow in the paddocks, until there was only about a 3’ opening. The horses got in their stalls and then stayed for a few days, while I mucked out religiously, fetched water and food.
During this time, we also lost our power, not a huge concern for us with a great woodstove, back up generator, and gravity fed water. However, our friends started dropping by to our warm home “for just a quick shower” or a dinner of things that needed to be used up, as their fridges needed to be emptied. We put the extensions in our kitchen table, and had weird meals of things like perogies & sole, while we played cards and visited.
By the time New Year’s rolled in, we were all pretty tired of the snow, and its inconveniences. We were invited to a friend’s home for dinner, where she was holed up with a couple of B&B guests. After hiking out our driveway, and driving over to her place on the water’s edge, we were greeted with lots of candles, and a cheerful fire burning. We gathered round a big table and demolished a huge crab feast! It was fabulous! Just what we needed after a weird week of just getting by, and having most of our Christmas plans cancelled.
As the evening unfolded, the weather outside was changing. The temperature was rising, and rain started falling. Really falling. By the time we were trekking back down our driveway, we could hear the water rushing under the icy bottom crust of the snow.
Whenever I eat crab now, I look back at that evening, regardless of the season. Crabmeat is easily available, either fresh packed or frozen, and makes great crab cakes.
The trick with crab cakes is not to overburden them with unnecessary flavours, and to add just enough binding ingredients to keep them together.
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8 – 10 cakes
⅓ c fine dry breadcrumbs
¼ t dried chili flakes
½ small onion
1½ stalk of celery
1 clove garlic
1 t Old Bay seasoning
1 t Cholula (or another type of hot sauce)
In a medium bowl, mix the crabmeat and the breadcrumbs.
Finely chop the ½ onion – you’ll have about ⅓ – ½ c
Finely chop the celery – you’ll have about ¼ – ⅓ c
Mince the garlic.
To the breadcrumbs and crab, add the chili flakes, egg, chopped onion & celery, garlic, seasoning, and hot sauce.
Mix well until well incorporated.
Form into cakes using either a ¼ c or ⅓ c measure. If using the ¼ c measure, you’ll get 10 cakes; the ⅓ c will give you 8.
Scoop out the measured amount, and use your hands to form the cakes. I usually use a fingers width for thickness.
Let the cakes rest, covered, in the fridge for 30 minutes minimum, or up to 3 hours.
To cook, melt 1 T of butter in each of two large skillets over medium heat.
When the butter has melted and is starting to foam, add ½ the cakes to each skillet giving them lots of room.
Cook them for 5 minutes, and turn them carefully and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. If they are darkening too quickly, turn the heat down to medium-low.
Serve with yam oven fries and a crunchy salad, with zesty mayonnaise.
⅓ c mayonnaise or light mayonnaise
2 T lemon juice
¼ t chili powder (or zest it up using Chipotle powder)