Louisiana Lump Crab Cakes
My aunt Christine taught me how to make crab cakes over the phone. And what I learned is that you can use leftover boiled shrimp as a binder instead of breadcrumbs. When you grind shrimp in a food processor, it becomes sticky, and just a small amount will hold crabmeat and smothered vegetables together well enough to form into patties.A seasonal salad made with cucumber and tomato or corn on the cob is the perfect accompaniment for crab cakes. Because crab patties freeze well, you can make dozens at once to eat for weeks to come. We stuff the same crab mix inside crab shells, adding a bit of rice here and there to stretch the mix. We also use it to stuff large butterflied shrimp, which we then dredge in cornmeal and fry as a special treat.You’ll need a pound of crabmeat for this recipe. If you have a reputable supplier for picked crabmeat, the meat should be good enough that you can buy regular lump, not more expensive jumbo lump, and you won’t have to pick crab for hours.Reprinted with permission from Mosquito Supper Club: Cajun Recipes from a Disappearing Bayou by Melissa Martin (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2020.
You can make the crab cakes at once or transfer the crab mix to an airtight container and refrigerate for 6 to 12 hours. Be sure to taste again and adjust the seasoning, gently stirring in any additions.
To make clarified butter, bring a pound of butter to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; the butter will boil, then start to foam. The foam is milk solids and proteins; let the foam sink to the bottom and then eventually disappear. At this point, adjust the heat to medium-low and allow the butter to brown slightly and clear up again. The milk solids will fall to the bottom of the pan. Strain the butter through cheesecloth into a glass container, discarding the solids. Clarified butter will keep for a year in the refrigerator or freezer, and you can keep it at room temperature too.