Crab Cakes with Lemon Garlic Aioli

-22.7° celsius. That’s how cold it got this past weekend. I know, we live in Canada. But it’s still November, and that bone chilling cold isn’t supposed to show its ugly face until at least the new year, right?

So what do you do when it’s that cold. Bundle up? Stay inside? I typically cook. Usually, warm comfort food is the answer. Stew, soup, chili. But sometimes we like to make a summer feast to remind us of the days of sunshine until 9pm, beers on the patio and boat rides at the cottage. There is something about that taste of summer that warms you up inside.

This past weekend was Katie’s birthday and, as always, I prepared a feast for her. Among the 7 courses that she got this year was a classic taste of summer – Crab cakes with lemon garlic aioli. I’ve taken a stab at crab cakes in the past and in my opinion, I missed the mark. I was never able to get the flavour quite right, or able to bind them well enough to keep them from falling apart. Well this time I nailed it.

Crab Cakes Lemon Garlic Aioli

Crab Cakes
300g crab meat
2 cups bread crumbs
1/4 mayonnaise
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1-2 grindings of freshly cracked pepper
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
Cayenne to taste (this will give them a good solid kick)

Lemon Garlic Aioli

1/2 mayonnaise
2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp dijon mustard
Cayenne to taste

2-3 minced chives, to garnish

Ready to enjoy the tastes of summer? Yeah, me too.

Start by making your aioli. Stir together the mayonnaise, parsley, garlic, lemon zest and juice, dijon mustard and cayenne in a small bowl until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Using your fingers, flake your crab meat apart on a large cutting board. Using a large sharp knife, mince the crab meat into very small pieces, and then transfer to a medium sized bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups of your breadcrumbs (keep the other 1/2 cup on reserve for later), mayonnaise, egg, chives, garlic, lemon zest, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, salt and cayenne. Using your mix, mix throughly until it is well combined.

Place the remaining 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl. This will be used to coat the outside of your cakes to help them stay together, and to give them a nice crispy outside layer.

Using your hands, form crabmeat into 9 equal sized balls. Form the balls into small patties, about 2-2.5 inches in diameter, giving you mini crab cakes. I find the smaller crab cakes are easier to eat, and easier to cook. Once you have formed your first crab cake, roll the cake on its side in the bread crumbs, covering the entire outside edge. Then lay the cake flat in the crumbs to coat the bottom, and flip to coat the other side. Set cakes aside on a large plate. Continue this process until you have formed all of your cakes. Cover the plate with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until you are ready to cook.

Heat a large, greased skillet over medium heat. Working in batches of 2 or 3, fry cakes for about 4-5 minutes until the bottoms are golden brown. Carefully flip once and cook for another 3 minutes until the cakes are fully cooked.

Spoon a small dollop of the lemon garlic aioli on top of each cake and sprinkle with chives for garnish. Serve to your guests and think of those sweet summer days.


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