Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Feelin' Kinda Crabby

I was in the mood for fish.

Soooooo, here's my little diatribe about eating fish this far inland. Better to purchase the fish flash frozen in your grocer's freezer than to buy whatever has been THAWED and stuck in a window for who knows how long. Most fish sold in these parts has been frozen to be shipped here anyway. If you're buying it from the fish case at your grocery, you're only buying thawed frozen fish. I won't argue with those of you who live on the coast. I've been there, and it's true there's nothing like eating fresh fish caught that morning. But unless it's Walleye during Great Lakes Walleye season, we're not likely to see anything in Ohio that was caught same day.

Usually when I'm in the mood for fish I end up with some salmon or some shrimp or even some whiting fillets out of my freezer section. But while I was looking for my usual suspects, I noticed some small plastic jars of lump crab meat.

Light Bulb!  CRAB CAKES--the delicate, rich, crabby morsels of scrumptiousness, topped with a little Cajun or Asian heat and served with some dressed greens or sweet slaw or something similar.

Everybody has their own crab cake recipe. Mine is adapted from my buddies on Block Island who have owned countless restaurants over the years and who served a delicious crab cake eggs bennie at their most recent venture.

Going low-carb doesn't meant giving up our favorite foods. It just means modifying recipes so they are carb-friendly. This recipe doesn't use any bread crumbs in the cake. But the crab cakes at the restaurant were rolled in Panko. Panko being white bread is not exactly what I would call a low-carb, high-fiber option. 

So I had to make my own Panko using the high-fiber bread I buy at the grocery store. It was simple really. I just toasted one of the end pieces, let it cool for a bit, then pulsed it in the food processor until it was coarse like Panko bread crumbs. It doesn't matter that they aren't completely toasted and are still soft. They're only going on the outside of the crab cake and then getting fried in oil, so they will create a deliciously delicate crunchy coating nonetheless. Promise.

8 oz jar lump crab meat, drained
1 stalk celery, diced small
2 Tablespoons diced onion or shallots
1 egg
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
High-fiber Panko breadcrumbs (as instructed above) tossed into a shallow dish
1/4 cup canola oil

Spice Blend:
1 Tablespoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon smoked chipotle pepper powder (or more if you like the heat)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves ground up in  your hand
1 teaspoon cumin 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

MIX all the spices into a small bowl. Set aside one to two teaspoonfuls of the spice blend for your dressing.

MIX the crab meat with the celery and onion. Toss with the remaining spice blend. Then add the egg and mayonnaise. The egg and mayonnaise will hold this all together without adding additional breadcrumbs. 

SCOOP out a small amount that can be squeezed between the palms of your hands. Because there are no breadcrumbs, these crab cakes are a bit delicate, so as you squeeze gently, form the ball into a hockey puck shape then roll the hockey puck in the Panko, gently pressing the breadcrumbs into all sides of the crab cake.

To make a simple dressing, MIX 2-3 tablespoons of mayonnaise with the remaining spice blend and add the hot sauce of your choosing.

Fry these in properly heated oil in a non-stick pan. It won't take long, roughly 2-3 minutes per side. You can transfer them to a paper towel to absorb the excess oil when they're golden brown on each side.

Since there are no fillers in these, the 8 oz jar made 5 small crab cakes. My boyfriend and I ate them all. It was a main course so that's 1/4 lb. serving per person. I served mine with a simple salad of greens dressed with a lemon vinaigrette. They were delish!!!

I'm sharing some low-carb love with following:
Flour Me With Love Mix it Up Monday