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Moroccan-spiced Crab Cakes

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These succulent crab cakes and the accompanying cilantro dressing are adapted from Matthew Kenney's Mediterranean Cooking (Chronicle Books).

  1. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  2. 1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  3. 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  4. 2 scallions, white and tender green, thinly sliced
  5. 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  6. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  7. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  8. 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  9. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  10. 1/2 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over
  11. 1 cup Japanese bread crumbs (panko) or coarse stale bread crumbs
  12. 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  13. 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  14. 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  15. Pinch of cayenne pepper
  16. Salt
  17. 1/4 cup canola oil
  18. Cilantro-Orange Dressing
  1. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Add the red pepper and celery and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the vegetables are just softened, about 2 minutes. Add the scallions and ginger and cook until the scallions are wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the cumin, turmeric and cardamom and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the cream and boil until reduced by half, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool slightly.
  2. Add the crabmeat to the cream mixture along with 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of the bread crumbs, 1 1/2 tablespoons each of the parsley and chives, and the lemon zest. Season with cayenne and salt and mix gently but thoroughly.
  3. With moistened hands, shape the crab mixture into 8 cakes, using a scant 1/3 cup for each; the cakes should be about 3 inches wide and 3/4 inch thick. Spread the remaining bread crumbs on a large plate. Coat the crab cakes with the bread crumbs and transfer to a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil in a medium nonstick skillet. Add half of the crab cakes and cook until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter. Repeat with the remaining canola oil and crab cakes. Arrange the crab cakes on plates, drizzle with the Cilantro-Orange Dressing and garnish with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon each of the parsley and chives.


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