It’s crab season here in Northern California and that means beautiful, rich Dungeness Crab! Crab cakes have to be one of my favorite dishes, but when you can eat them without also consuming the guilt of having them fried, it makes them all the better! The inspiration for this dish comes from Ferry Plaza Seafood in the San Francisco Ferry Building. This light, fully satisfying crab cake is sure to be a crowd pleaser. What’s better – you can do a lot of the prep work ahead of time and come out looking like a superstar!
Baked Crab Cakes
2 large Dungeness crabs, cleaned and shelled – body meat separated from leg and claw meat
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup finely diced green onion
2-3 tablespoon finely diced green pepper
2-3 tablespoons finely diced red pepper
2-3 tablespoons finely diced celery
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 small egg
1 tablespoon mayo
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon freshly ground mustard seed
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
2 tablespoons vinaigrette dressing (lemon vinaigrette is nice)
cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a sautee pan to medium heat and melt oil and butter together in pan. Add green onion, green pepper, red pepper, celery and garlic in the pan. Sprinkle with a pinch each of salt and pepper and toss to coat. Let mixture cook for 2-3 minutes or until onions are translucent. Remove from heat and transfer mixture into a fine mesh strainer over a bowl to drain of any excess liquid.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whisk egg until pale yellow, then mix in mayo, Worcestershire sauce, mustard seed, parsley and a pinch each of salt and pepper, until thoroughly combined. Mix in vegetable mixture and crab body meat only until well combined. Return mixture to strainer over a bowl and press with a spatula to release any excess liquid. Once drained, carefully fold in leg and claw meat, trying to keep some pieces larger.
Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray. Spoon crab cake mixture into a tall ring mold and pack down with the back of a rubber scraper. Carefully remove the ring mold and repeat until all of the mixture is used up. Bake crab cakes in oven for 10-15 minutes or until the cakes are golden on the edges and hold firm under gentle pressure. Remove from oven and let cool. Remove any liquidy looking edges with a butter knife or spatula.
Toss together greens and vinaigrette until nicely coated. Plate greens, top with a crab cake and garnish with tomatoes and avocado.
This dish uses these fabulous but tiny bell peppers from my garden.
Many people don’t know this but if you let some green bell pepper varieties further ripen, you actually end up with yellow, red or even orange bell peppers. Bell pepper is simple to grow in containers and, as long as you have ample sunshine and water, require very little care. Bell peppers are a rich in vitamins C, E, A, K and beta carotene. To fully enjoy the vitamin content of bell peppers, they are best eaten raw as they lose a lot of nutrient content when heated past about 300 degrees.
The rich variety of bell peppers reminds me of vibrant christmas colors. Maybe instead of using traditional christmas decorations, I will display an abundant bowl of gorgeous peppers. Beautiful AND delicious and the only thing I will have to store will be their seeds for spring.