Oh Crab! Crab Cakes for a Crowd?
Football season has arrived!!
For me, the excitement has nothing to do with football what-so-ever! What it DOES mean is that I get to cook for those beer drinking, potty mouthed, game watching boys in my basement!(I know, right? THIS excites me?) In all honesty, there really are NO better guinea pigs than a crowd full of hungry men! Afterall, walking away from the television may mean missing a pass, touchdown, or fumble... and we can't have that! Therefore, football season works out for me in that I get to test my newest recipe finds... and Todd gets his beer guzzlin' buddies in the "man cave!" It's a fair trade.
This past Sunday, I decided a little twist on a classic crab cake would be a great way to kick-off my football season and get out of my "boring old appetizer" funk. Any good cook knows what I am talking about. The, "can't find anything new" rut. It happens, but these tasty little crab cakes cured me!
Not only are they delicious, but easy! The crab mixture can be made a day in advance and you can cook them up to 2 hours prior to your company arriving. No one wants to be stuck behind the stove while entertaining, even if it is just the boys in the basement!
By the, "Oh my goodness" and "Man, these are GOOD!" responses from the room, I think they liked them!
Mini Crab Cakes
Makes approximately 24 Mini Crab Cakes
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
¾ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 large egg
¼ cup sour cream
1 tsp. lemon zest
3 tbsp. minced fresh chives, divided (optional)
¼ tsp. kosher salt
Dash of cayenne pepper
Two (2) 6.5 oz cans of fresh lump crab meat, patted dry and coarsely chopped *(I used Miller's Select canned Lump crab meat but I am sure any refrigerated or canned lump crab is fine)
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (plain or lemon pepper)
1/4 cup herb and garlic bread crumbs
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Additional fresh chives, for garnish
In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, ¼ C. Parmesan, and the egg. Beat with your electric mixer to blend. Then beat in the sour cream, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon of the chives (if desired), salt and cayenne pepper. Last, fold in the crabmeat and refrigerate.(This can be made up to 24 hours in advance).
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Spray a 24 tin mini muffin pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine the panko, bread crumbs, the remaining ½ cup of Parmesan, and 2 tablespoons of the minced chives. Drizzle the melted butter over the mixture and toss with a fork until evenly moistened. Place 1 teaspoon of the mixture in each muffin well and press down to form a crust. Spoon 1 generous tablespoon of the crab mixture over the crumb mixture in each well. (I prefer to add enough crab mixture to make each well "even" with the pan. Then, sprinkle a rounded teaspoon of the panko mixture over the top of each and sprinkle wih a little extra dash of cayenne pepper (if desired).
Bake until golden and set, 30-32 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Allow to cool in the pan 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each cake and gently lift it out of the pan, shaking off any excess crumb mixture. (If baking in advance, Rewarm at 350˚ F for 6-8 minutes just before serving.) Garnish with additional fresh chives, if desired.
I served these up with a few lemon wedges and Kraft's new hot and spicy mayo for dipping. They were a real treat and a "something different" appetizer that left the party wanting more!
Remember, if you're not a cook, don't want to cook, or the entertaining is just NOT your bag of chips... Call The Little Bitchin Kitchen and we will do the entertaining for you!
Happy Cooking! - The Little Bitchin Kitchen
Photograph Source: The Noble Pig