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Crab Cakes

When Ruth Reichl is upset, she cooks. She made these crab cakes one day when she was upset with her then-husband, and found "the sizzle each time a crab cake hit the butter in the pan profoundly satisfying."

1 pound lump crab meat
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, divided
2 large eggs
11/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons prepared tartar sauce
2 slices firm white sandwich bread, torn into small pieces
6 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs

Pick over the crab meat to remove any bits of shell and cartilage, being careful not to break up the lumps of crab.

Cook the onion and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet over moderate heat, until the onion is softened. Let the mixture cool.

Whisk together the eggs, Worcestershire sauce, remaining salt, paprika, pepper, tartar sauce and onion mixture. Gently fold in the crab meat and torn bread (the mixture will be very wet).

Gently form the mixture into six cakes, each about 31/2 inches across and 3/4 inch thick. Line a tray with a piece of wax paper just large enough to hold the cakes and sprinkle it with half the bread crumbs. Set the crab cakes in one layer on top of the paper and sprinkle the tops with the remaining bread crumbs, patting them gently to adhere. Cover the crab cakes loosely with another sheet of wax paper and chill for 1 hour.

Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a large nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until the foam subsides. Cook the crab cakes until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Makes 6 crab cakes.

"Comfort Me With Apples" by Ruth Reichl

Thursday, May 10, 2001

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