Herbed Crab Cakes with Lemon Aioli


My husband and I love staying in to recreate “date night” at home these days... we put the kiddos to bed (and pray they stay there), pop a great bottle of wine, turn on our favorite music, and enjoy a fancy meal, prepared by moi. This is all made better by the fact that I get to stay in my yoga pants and we don’t have to dish out for a babysitter! Crab cakes are one the dishes that Tobin requests often for “date night,” and I’m happy to oblige! My herbed crab cakes with lemon aioli are easy to whip up and brimming with flavor. Crab meat is pretty rich, so by cutting way back on the mayo, using feathery panko in place of dense bread or crackers, and loading them up with green herbs, these cakes taste light and fresh. You can use pretty much any combo of minced green herbs you prefer here- parsley or basil would be delish! And feel free to make these smaller (2” or so) for an appealing appetizer offering served on a tray with the aioli on the side for dipping. This recipe calls for FRESH lump crab- not the canned, pasteurized variety. And definitely not krab. Ask your fishmonger to point you in the right direction. Enjoy your “night out in” with this simple yet elegant meal!

prep time: ~1 hr and 20 min (includes chilling) cook time: 10 min. serves: makes 6 large cakes


INGREDIENTS:

2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt

2 tbsp mayonnaise

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

2 egg yolks, lightly beaten

1 celery stalk, minced

1 small shallot, minced

1 tbsp chopped tarragon

1 tbsp chopped dill

1 tbsp chopped cilantro

1 tbsp chopped chives

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 cups Panko bread crumbs, divided

1 lb fresh lump crab meat

avocado oil for pan frying


LEMON AIOLI:

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 garlic clove, grated or very finely minced

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:


Add the yogurt, mayo, mustard, celery, shallot, eggs, herbs, lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper, and 1 cup of the Panko bread crumbs into the bottom of a large bowl. Stir to fully combine the mixture. Add the crab meat and gently fold it in to incorporate, being careful not the break the crab up too much. Use your hands to form the crab mixture into 6 equally sized patties, about 4” In diameter. Set the patties on a sheet pan lined with wax paper and place them in the fridge to chill and firm up at least 1 hour, and up to 24 hours.


Meanwhile, make the aioli by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Set the sauce aside or chill, covered, until ready to serve. When you are ready to fry the crab cakes, spread the remaining cup of Panko on to a large flat plate. Take a chilled crab cake and carefully coat it in the Panko on all sides, pressing it back together if it falls apart a little. Set it aside and repeat with the remaining cakes.


Heat 2 tbsp of avocado oil in a large, heavy skillet set over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, gently add the Panko coated crab cakes (you may have to work in batches to fit them all). Fry the crab cakes about 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Serve the crab cakes warm with a dollop of the aioli alongside or on top.


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