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Father’s Day Brunch, Part 2: Crab Cakes and Mussels

18 Jun

Yesterday I posted a couple of the recipes we used for our Father’s Day brunch. Today, I’ll continue with some of the things we made. This time, I’ll cover the seafood we made with crab cakes and steamed mussels. Both are pretty easy to make; they just require some paying attention so you don’t overcook them.

Crab Cakes

1 pound fresh or pasteurized crab meat, picked over for shell pieces

6 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs

4 scallions, green parts only, minced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or basil

1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning

1/4 cup mayonnaise

Salt and pepper

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Gently toss the crab, 4 tablespoons of the breadcrumbs, the scallions, parsley and Old Bay together in a large bowl. Add the mayonnaise and gently combine using a rubber spatula. Season the crab mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Gently fold in the egg. If necessary, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs as needed until the mixture just clings together. Divide the crab mixture into equal portions and shape each into patties. Transfer the patties to a large, plastic-wrap-lined plate. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until the patties are firm, about 30 minutes.

Spread the flour in a shallow dish. Coat the crab cakes lightly with the flour. Heat the oil in a large, non-stick skillet until shimmering. Gently lay the chilled crab cakes into the skillet and cook until crisp and brown on both sides, about 10 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges or tartar sauce.

You can make the patties the night before and chill them overnight if you want. Chilling them really helps to firm them up and they hold together much better as they are cooking. I tend to go with the less is more as far as ingredients for crab cakes. So many that you get have way too much seasoning, vegetables, or especially breadcrumbs that you can’t even taste the crab meat. This one recipe seems to work the best to make delicious crab cakes.

On to the steamed mussels. These are great as an appetizer, but would also be great for a main course over pasta or rice with some crunchy bread to help you soak up the broth.

Steamed Mussels with White Wine and Garlic

5 tablespoons butter

3 shallots, minced

6 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups dry white wine or vermouth

1 bay leaf

4 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded

1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the wine and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes to let the flavors blend.

Increase the heat to high and add the mussels. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mussels open, about 5 to 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the mussels to a large serving bowl, discarding any that refuse to open. Whisk the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and parsley into the broth, then pour the broth over the mussels.

A couple of quick notes about mussels. Most mussels and clams you buy nowadays are farmed and pretty clean already, so you don’t have to worry too much about grit. Many are even debearded already, but you want to check them and make sure if they need it. If they do, you can simply pull the beard away with your fingers or a butter knife. When you buy the mussels, give them a smell. If they don’t smell clean, don’t buy them. The shells should also appear to be moist. Don’t use any that have a cracked shell. Store them set over ice in a bowl in the fridge and plan to use them the same day you bought them. Most importantly, if any don’t open, don’t eat it, it’s a bad mussel and not worth the stomach ache you will have after eating it. There are always a few that don’t open, and 4 pounds yields a lot of mussels, so don’t sweat it. (I wish I had gotten a picture of the mussels, but I didn’t sorry.)

Okay, so we’ve covered the seafood, the sausage and the quiche. Tomorrow I’ll go over the coffee cake, banana bread and fruit salad and I think we’ll have covered everything. I am making trout tonight, so I’ll post that recipe on Wednesday. Check back tomorrow for the tasty cake recipes. Until then, enjoy your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on June 18, 2012 in Appetizers, Cooking, Seafood

 

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