Feeling Crabby Crab Cakes

While this is certainly not a news flash for you crustacean lovers out there, it is Dungeness crab season. The highlight of winter in the bay area. Okay, well, that and Meyer lemons. And what a pair they make. Crab cakes, cracked crab, crab salad, crab risotto (all with a squeeze of a Meyer)... So of course, naturally, the last two times we've had gatherings at our house, we've made crab cakes. New Year's Eve we made two trays full of crabby bites of heaven. And tonight, in celebration of one of our closest friends being born, we will crack open a bottle of Prosecco, pluck a few Meyer lemons off the tree, and fry up some tender, delectable crab cakes. If you are now drooling (please wipe your mouth), and feel like you simply cannot go on without a bite of these, please don't come over, just make them for yourself!

Kim's Crab Cakes

Makes about 16-18 medium crab cakes

About 1 1/2 pounds fresh Dungeness crabmeat, about 3 medium crabs*

*If you can find them and have the time, cook live crabs; otherwise there are some great seafood markets that cook them fresh each day. Just don't use canned or frozen! If you use pre-cooked crab, I find it best to gently rinse it in a fine-mesh strainer under cold water and pat it dry before moving on

About 2 cups (fresh) dried bread crumbs**

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**I use challah because it's rich and eggy and a little bit sweet. Just throw the loaf in the Cuisinart and process it until you have fine crumbs then toast in a 350F oven for about 10 minutes or so

2 large eggs (preferably organic), beaten

1/4 cup mayonnaise (preferably homemade)

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

large pinch of kosher or sea salt

2 tablespoons of finely diced red bell peppers

1 tablespoon of finely snipped chives

1/4 cup canola oil

Meyer lemons, cut into wedges, for serving

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, mayo, mustard, Worcestershire, and salt until smooth. Stir in the peppers and chives. Gently stir in the crab meat (try not to break up all the nice meaty chunks!) and then stir in 1 cup of the bread crumbs. The mixture should be fairly wet, but you should be able to form a crab cake. Form into about 16-18 medium-sized cakes. Put the cakes on a plate or platter, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to fry; the cakes can be made up to 3 hours in advance.

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Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Put the remaining cup of bread crumbs onto a plate and lightly coat each side of each crab cake. Place about half of the cakes into the hot pan. You should be able to fry the crab cakes in two batches. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain, then fry the other half. Serve at once with plenty of Meyer lemons.

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