If you grew up in an Italian household, chances are, you've had your fair share of "The Feast of the Seven Fishes" dinners. This feast, known in Southern Italy as La Vigilia (The Vigil), represents the wait for Jesus' birthday. Anywho, it's one of my favorite nights of the year, and my family always celebrates it on the Sunday before Christmas Eve, because we are not all together on Christmas Eve. We always have the staple dishes: baccala, fried smelts, calamari, bacon-wrapped scallops, and shrimp cocktail, and baked fish. Since I've been living in Baltimore for quite a while now, I decided to make crab cakes, because crab cakes. Duh. Here's my version of these balls of wonder, because there are so many different ways to make them. Most people from Baltimore would tell you to keep it simple: mayo, little bread, parsley, egg, and maybe lemon. I actually like [GASP] pimentos in my crab cakes, but I left those out. I did add a little sweet relish, which elevated the cakes in flavor. However you make your crab cakes, do know that it doesn't matter what is in them if you don't have good crab meat. Jumbo lump is the way to go...!
What You'll Need:
- 1/2 cup Kraft mayonnaise with olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1/2 tablespoon sweet relish
- 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- Zest from a half lemon
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 2 pieces white bread, small cubes without crust
- 2 pounds jumbo lump crab meat
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup white wine, optional
1. In a mixing bowl, whisk first eight ingredients until smooth and incorporated. Fold in bread cubes and toss to coat. Gently fold in crab meat lumps, as not to break them up. You want the lumps to stay as large as possible. Add salt and pepper to taste.
2. Form about one dozen (maybe more) 3-ounce crab cakes. Shape them as you would a meatball, not a burger patty. Place them on a buttered broil pan and fill the bottom of the broil pan with white wine (you could use water, too, but it was my Dad's grand plan to use the white wine... and why not?)
3. Put in a 375-degree oven for 25 minutes. Switch oven to broil and cook for an additional five minutes until golden brown on top. Behold! Crab Cakes. Serve with an array of fun stuff, if you so chose (I love condiments!): yellow mustard, Dijon mustard, cocktail sauce, tartar sauce, Worcestershire sauce, drawn butter, or nothing at all!