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Author Notes: Butter will be the death of us, folks.
See, people have this idea that baking is an art. That artisan (that’s real artisans, not the word some marketing suits at Panera decided to put in front of every item on the menu) people passed down croissant-making techniques for decades and guarded them with their lives like they were the secret formula to Pepsi or something. I’m not gonna dispute that those people know what they’re doing, because they very clearly do. The chances that one of them can make a palmier better than me are infinitely high; that much is obvious.
But at its core, at the very heart of it, super-fancy baking is dumb and simple. It’s a butter and sugar fueled power orgy, more Tim Allen than Martha Stewart. Ever notice how the fancier your pastries get, the more flaky and sugary and layery they get? That’s not art, that’s volume. That’s someone saying “well shit, one of these is good, why not pile 100 of them on at once?”
Technique-wise, baking is every bit as dainty and majestic as those guided wine-filled tours in France would have you believe. But conceptually, it’s nothing but brute force and numbers. It doesn’t happen because of a bolt of inspiration, it’s because somebody went into caveman mode and thought I LIKE BOTH OF THESE THINGS I NEED THEM BOTH IN MY MOUTH AT ONCE. MARGE GET THE BUTTER, THIS IS HOW I WANT TO DIE. THIS IS MY VALHALLA.
And then, there’s the crab cake. Someone took a food almost exclusively associated with butter and decided to cram it into a patty and add bread crumbs. Nothing says “instant myocardial infarction” like taking something already unhealthy and trying to make it resemble a freaking cake as much as possible. Add the gigantic bun and usual accompaniment of tartar sauce, and you’ve got a sandwich fit for the lobby of a morgue.
Did I see all this and turn the other way, make a vegan raw green bean salad thing, and call it a day? Of course not. You know me too well for that. I put a giant crab cake on a giant buttery slab of bread and added other stuff.
Sweet, buttery death, I’ll see you at my doorstep.
—Fresh Beats, Fresh Eats
- 1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat (don't get the fake stuff, kids)
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 green onions (sliced thin)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups panko
- olive oil
- 6 brioche buns
- 1/4 cup mayo
- 1 tablespoon relish
- 1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 head green cabbage (shredded)
- 1 carrot (julienned)
- 1/2 cup jicama (julienned)
- 1/2 cup daikon radish (julienned)
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 pinch salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- First, the slaw.
- This one’s easy: just throw everything (from the green cabbage down in the ingredients list) in a bowl. Toss. That’s it. It does help to refrigerate it while you do the rest of the recipe though, to let all the flavors get nice and comfortable with each other.
- Same goes for the tartar sauce. Throw all the ingredients (everything below the brioche buns and above the cabbage) in a bowl, whisk, and you’re good. Make sure you’re taste testing this and the slaw, too. Mostly because it’s a good idea, but partly because I pulled those recipes out of my butt and might be doing it somewhat from memory. Hey, I’m not perfect.
- For the crab cakes, drain the crab meat.
- Add everything (above, but not including, the olive oil) but the panko to a big bowl, and stir together along with the crab meat. You want to break up the meat a little bit, but leave some big chunks. As long as you land somewhere between microscopic and marble-sized, you’ll be golden.
- Mix in the panko, form the stuff into patties, and cover it with plastic wrap. This should form about 6 patties; you want them nice and thick.
- Refrigerate the patties for an hour, that way it won’t fall apart when you put it in the pan later. We want crab cakes here, not crab piles-of-garbage.
- Warm up a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook ‘em for about 4 minutes until the bottoms are golden brown, then flip them and cook for another 3 minutes or so.
- All that’s left is to cut the buns in half, throw the sandwiches together, and throw them in your mouth.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Sandwich Recipe