I’ve often wondered who thought of shaping crab cakes into something resembling a meat chop. As a child, I imagined a fisherman telling his wife that he couldn’t bear eating fish one more night. The fisherman’s clever wife artfully shaped the crabmeat into the shape of a pork chop, breaded it, fried it, and served it to her unsuspecting husband, thus once again saving the day!
Makes 6 chops
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
20 saltine crackers, finely crushed in a blender or food processor
1 cup dried fine bread crumbs
1 tablespoon Cajun Dry Rub Seasoning (link below to recipe)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 additional tablespoons butter
6 cooked crab claws, in their shell
Preheat the oven to 200°F. Place a baking sheet in the oven to warm.
Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for 2 to 3 minutes, or until well blended.
Add the green onions, parsley and salt. Stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
In a mixing bowl, combine the egg with the crabmeat and cracker crumbs. Mix gently so as not to break up the crabmeat. Fold in the milk mixture and let cool. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and shape into patties or in the shape of breaded veal or pork chops. In a shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs and the Cajun Dry Rub.
Heat the remaining 4 tablespoons butter and the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge the patties, coating evenly, in the bread crumb mixture. Fry the patties for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. It is best to fry in small batches (about 3 large patties in a 12 inch skillet).** The crab cakes should be crispy on the outside and moist and juicy on the inside.
Drain on paper towels and serve hot.
To Assemble and Serve
Arrange ‘chops’ on an individual plate or serving platter. Arrange the crab claw around the chop or Pattie as though it were the bone. Alternately, you can artfully arrange the claw on or around the patty; add a spring of parsley, a sprinkle of green onion, and a wedge of lemon.
Serve with fresh tartar sauce (see recipe links).
* Jumbo crab meat is best for large patties. Lump or backfin crab meat is suitable for both types.
**When the first batch is done, transfer the patties to the warm baking sheet and return, uncovered, to the warm oven. Repeat until all crab cakes are cooked. If necessary, wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel and melt more butter between batches.
For an easy tartar sauce, combine a little grated onion, a squeeze of fresh lemon and mayonnaise. Refrigerate until ready to use.