Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mini Crab Cakes

It's hard to find the silver lining when two of your very best friends announce that they're moving 3,000 miles away in 2 weeks time... but when their destination is Maryland and the hosts of their going away party ask guests to bring their best Maryland-inspired dish, the opportunity to bake these adorable little crab cakes certainly does bring a modicum of happiness to an otherwise tear-filled occasion.

I'd actually had this recipe bookmarked for some time, just waiting for the perfect time to whip it out. It was every bit as fun and delicious as I'd hoped. I doubled the recipe just to make sure I had enough, and I am so thrilled that I did. Usually, when there are leftovers at the end of a potluck, I leave them for the host. In this case, however, I unapologetically took the remaining bites right back home with me -- and enjoyed them with a salad for dinner the next night!

Re: the recipe, I decided to trick myself into thinking these wer healthy (and thereby giving myself permission to eat more) by subbing reduced-fat cream cheese and reduced-fat sour cream for the regular stuff. Do I realize that I'm fooling myself? Yes. Did it damage the final results to cut a few calories and fat grams? No. So, why not?

John and Kate, I will miss you terribly. In fact, I miss you already. I am dedicating this blog post to your beautiful family, and can't wait to visit you soon! In the meantime, I'm adding these crab cakes to my appetizer repertoire, and every time I make them, I will think of you!

Mini Crab Cakes
(barely adapted from Annie's Eats)
  • 8oz. cream cheese (regular or reduced-fat), at room temperature
  • ¾ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup sour cream (regular or reduced fat)
  • ½ tsp. lemon zest
  • 3 tbsp. minced fresh chives, divided + additional for garnish
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 8 oz. fresh lump crabmeat, patted dry and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, ¼ cup of the Parmesan, and the egg; beat with an electric mixer to blend.  Beat in the sour cream, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon of the chives, salt and cayenne pepper.  Gently fold in the crabmeat.  (This mixture can be made up to 1 day in advance.)

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Spray a 24-well mini muffin pan with cooking spray.  In a medium bowl, combine the panko, remaining ½ cup of the Parmesan, and 2 tablespoons of the minced chives.  Drizzle the melted butter over the mixture and toss with a fork until evenly blended and moistened.  Place 1 tablespoon of the panko mixture in each muffin well and press down to form a crust.  Spoon 1 generous tablespoon of the crab mixture over the crumb mixture in each well.  Sprinkle a rounded teaspoon of the panko mixture over the top of each.  

Bake until golden and set, about 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.  Allow to cool in the pans 5 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge of each cake and gently lift it out of the pan.  (These can be baked 2 hours in advance.  Rewarm at 350˚for 6-8 minutes* just before serving.)  Garnish with additional fresh chives.

*The afternoon of the party was a scorcher, and no one wanted to put the oven on for rewarming. Since the boys were already grilling outside, they offered to put the muffin pan directly on the grill for a few minutes. It worked great.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting! will do this on my daughter's going away party next week. :)