Mini Crab Cakes

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I am always looking for great appetizers when I have company, and dips are normally the default, since they can be made in advance. So when I found this mini crab cake recipe that can be made mostly in advance, I was thrilled. Not to mention crab cakes are surely on my top 10 list of favorite foods!

This recipe is easy to make in advance, and I made most of it the morning before the party, then threw it in the oven when company was here.

It is unique because the citrus really comes through as a “hmmm, what is that great taste?” type of secret ingredient. Thanks again to Bon Appetit for this one!

MINI CRAB CAKES
Makes 24

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 large egg
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
4 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, divided
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
Large pinch of cayenne pepper
6 ounces fresh lump crabmeat, picked over, patted dry, coarsely shredded
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pans
Fresh chives, cut into pieces

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in medium bowl until smooth. Add 1/4 cup Parmesan and egg; beat to blend. Beat in sour cream, citrus peels, 4 teaspoons chopped chives, coarse salt, and cayenne pepper. Fold in crabmeat (this portion can even be made one day ahead!). Cover and chill.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter 2 mini muffin pans. Toss panko, 1/2 Parmesan and 2 tablespoons chopped chives in small bowl. Drizzle 1/4 cup melted butter over, tossing with fork until evenly moistened. Press 1 rounded tablespoon panko mixture into bottom of each muffin cup, forming crust. Spoon 1 generous tablespoon crab mixture into each cup. Sprinkle rounded teaspoon of panko mixture over each.

Bake crab cakes until golden on top and set, about 30 minutes. Cool in pans 5 minutes. (can be done a few hours ahead – if so chill then rewarm at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes when ready to serve). Run knife around each cake and gently lift out of pan.

Arrange crab cakes on serving platter; sprinkle with chives.

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