I know that it seems my commitment to this blog has been lacking as of late, but moving half way across the country is hard work, not to mention time consuming! Trust me, I would much rather have been baking and blogging than packing and driving 1,500 miles in a cramped car. But the good news is that I'm back and ready to hit the ground running! I've got more time and resources at my disposal, including a much bigger kitchen and people to actually help me eat all the food I plan on cooking. My mom and dad will be serving as my taste testing guinea pigs for the upcoming months. (Yes, I have moved back in with my parents. Not my proudest moment, but what's a broke, unemployed person to do?)
I've officially been back in Texas for a week now (my, how I've missed this weather!) and close to being completely settled in. But I could no longer focus on unloading box after box (after box, after box...) because I was itching to get back in the kitchen! My mom had a couple friends over this week, so it was the perfect excuse to dig out my culinary gadgets from the dark abyss of moving boxes. It was also a good opportunity to start testing some appetizers I have in mind to make for one of my very best, and oldest friend's wedding shower I will be hosting come spring time. I pretty much planned out the entire menu within an hour of hearing about her engagement- I love a good reason to throw a party. But this party in particular has me more excited than usual because it's a wedding shower, meaning lots of fun and frilly finger foods and centerpieces.
However, the dilemma I face is this: I want the food to be impressive while remaining simplistic in the overall preparation. I want everything to be lovely and delicious, but I also want to enjoy myself at the party rather than fretting over the food. I already had crab cakes in mind when planning the shower's menu, so when I ran across this recipe for miniature crab cakes that are baked in batches, well, it seemed like the perfect solution to my simple yet impressive dilemma. And I have to say, I was extremely pleased with the results. The mini cakes were surprisingly crisp and crunchy on the outside, and had some nice citrus notes (a result from the combination of both orange and lemon peel). I actually think they were every bit as good as the full fat versions that are often fried in butter or oil, except these are sooo much easier to make! With (only) 6 months left to plan the wedding shower, this recipe has most definitely won a permanent place on the menu!
Mini Crab Cakes
Adapted from Bon Appetit
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 large egg
1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
4 teaspoons plus 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, divided
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Large pinch of cayenne pepper
8 ounces fresh lump crabmeat (picked over for pieces of shell) patted dry and shredded
1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pans
Fresh chives, cuts into pieces for garnish
1. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth. Add 1/4 cup Parmesan and egg; beat to blend. Beat in sour cream, citrus peels, 4 teaspoons chopped chives, salt, and cayenne pepper. Fold in crabmeat.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter 2 mini muffin pans. Toss Panko, 3/4 cup Parmesan, and 3 tablespoons chopped chives in a small bowl. Drizzle melted butter over Panko mixture, tossing with fork until evenly moistened. Press a spoonful of Panko mixture into the bottom and up the sides of each muffin cup, forming crust. Spoon a rounded tablespoon of crab mixture into each cup. Sprinkle about a 1/2 tablespoon of Panko mixture over each (some may be left over).
3. Bake crab cakes until golden on top and set, about 25-30 minutes. Cool in pans for 5 minutes. Run knife around each cake and gently lift out of pan. Arrange crab cakes on a serving platter and sprinkle with chive pieces. Serve with Remoulade Sauce (recipe follows).
Makes 24 mini crab cakes
Note: Crab mixture can be made 1 day ahead then covered and chilled. Crab cakes can be baked 2 hours prior to serving, then rewarmed on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes.
1 1/2 cups light mayo
4 green onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons creole mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large garlic clove, pressed
1 1/2 teaspoons horseradish
1 teaspoon paprika
1. Stir together all the ingredients until well blended. Cover and chill for at least one hour.