Disclaimer: This is a total fake-out! You won’t find any fried pickles in this recipe; instead I used a sauce that is typically served with fried pickles in steakhouses like Texas Roadhouse (thanks to the June issue of Food Network Magazine for the help on that). I also took an existing crab cakes recipe and modified it for my own taste. I hope you enjoy it!
For the crab cakes:
24 saltine crackers, crushed into course crumbs (about 1 cup)
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon + 7 teaspoons chopped pickles or sweet pickle relish
For the sauce:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon drained horseradish
2 teaspoons ketchup
1/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1. Make the crab cakes: Place half of the cracker crumbs in a large bowl. Drizzle in the egg, then stir in the mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, parsley, dill, chili powder, and 1/2 teaspoon each (or more to taste) of salt and pepper.
Gently fold in the crabmeat and pickle relish, keeping in mind my father’s rule of thumb for making crabcakes, “don’t overmix.” Using the top of a water glass and parchment paper to help you, form into 2 1/2 – 3 inch patties (a little less of 1/2 cup crab mixture each). I had 7 crab cakes when I made this recipe.
Spread the remaining cracker crumbs on a plate; carefully press the crab cakes in the crumbs on both sides. Transfer to a greased baking sheet and refrigerate until firm (2 to 6 hours).
2. Make the sauce: mix the mayonnaise, horseradish, ketchup, and Cajun seasoning in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
3. Position a rack in the upper-third of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Spoon melted butter over the top of each crab cake patty and season with salt and pepper. Bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Let cool a few moments and serve each crab cake with a small dollop of sauce and 1 teaspoon of pickle relish. Garnish with a sprig of fresh parsley if you’re into that sort of thing.
Nutritional information (for each crabcake): Calories – 297. Total Fat – 22 g. Saturated fat-7 g. Cholesterol- 111 mg. Total Carbohydrate- 8 g. Protein – 16g.
You can easily make a healthier modification to this recipe by using low fat mayonnaise (I did that with the sauce, but used full-fat mayo in the actual crabcakes).
After my first taste, I was a big fan… though next time I might play around with the recipe a bit, perhaps adding some pickle juice straight from the jar and maybe even some Cajun seasoning to the crab cake mixture to give it a little more of a “kick.”
I paired my dinner with Anthony Nappa Wines 2010 “Spezia” Gewurztraminer. I’m a fan of the Gewurztraminer varietal in general because of its off-dry (meaning slightly sweet) flavor and moderately fizzy bounce on the tongue. Nappa’s version, named “Spezia” (Italian for spice), is straw-colored with an aromatic bouquet of lychee, pepper, roses, and exotic fruit. I tried to follow the lead of the label which suggests pairing the wine with “hot and spicy foods.” The crab cakes themselves weren’t exactly “spicy,” even with a moderate amount of chili powder in the mixture, but the horseradish and Cajun seasoning in the sauce definitely kicks things up a notch.
Anyway, while I like Gewurztraminer for casual drinking, this isn’t a wine that I’d drink alone… it needs a buddy. The crab cakes worked, but some potent cheeses would work as well. On the palate the wine is bold with a notable spritz, and it has a hint of mango, pineapple, and something else I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I lack the training of a sommelier, so in my most layman’s terms, I’d call it “complex and delicious with something a little tart that lingers.”
The whole purpose of the test kitchen is to play around with some food and wine to see if we have a match. “Test” is the key term here, so I welcome your feedback in the comments below. if you get an opportunity to try the recipe and/or the wine, I’d love to know what you thought!
As always, eat and drink in good health!