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Yield- about 12 crab cakes
Time 1 ½ hours
10 slices soft white or whole-wheat bread
½ cup/115 grams unsalted butter
1 large onion, grated
¼ cup/30 grams self-rising flour (see Tip)
1 ½ cups/355 milliliters whole or 2-percent milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
¼ teaspoon ground mace
2 pounds/907 grams lump crab meat, drained if needed
½ cup/120 milliliters vegetable oil, plus more as needed
- Heat the broiler to 500 degrees (or its highest setting). On your oven’s highest rack, broil all the bread slices on a baking sheet for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden and crisp but not burned. Flip all the slices over and broil for another 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the broiler off and allow the bread to crisp in the oven until totally dry, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove the bread from the oven and let cool. Using a box grater or rolling pin, coarsely grate and crush the bread slices into bread crumbs (or, pulse them in a food processor). The crumbs should look and feel like sand; you should get about 4 cups. Set the bread crumbs aside.
- In a large cast-iron skillet, melt the butter over high heat. Once the butter is melted, add the onion and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Pour the butter and onion into a large bowl. Whisk the flour into the melted butter and onion, then slowly whisk in the milk to make a creamy sauce. Once the sauce is smooth, whisk in the eggs, lemon juice, vinegar and mace.
- Add the crab meat to the cream sauce and mix lightly with a fork; don’t break up the pieces of crab meat. Gently fold in just enough of the bread crumbs so that the mixture holds together (about 2 1/2 cups). Divide the crab mixture into 12 equal portions, setting them on a baking sheet as you go. They should be thick rounds — about the size of the palm of your hand, and roughly 1 1/2 inches thick.
- Using your hand, take a scoop of the toasted bread crumbs and coat each crab cake.
- Wipe out the skillet and heat the oil over high. Once the oil is hot, place a few of the crab cakes in the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until browned and cooked through. Place the cooked crab cakes on a paper towel to drain. Working in batches, cook the remaining crab cakes, adding more oil as needed.
- Serve crab cakes immediately, or set aside in a warm oven (see Tip) while you cook the remaining crab cakes.
If you don’t have self-rising flour, substitute 1/4 cup all-purpose flour mixed with 1/4 teaspoon baking powder and a pinch of salt.
To keep the crab cakes warm after cooking, heat the oven to 175 degrees (the warm setting). Place the crab cakes on a large baking sheet lined with a piece of foil and place them in the oven. At this temperature, the oven will keep them warm without drying them out. (Source:-cooking.nytimes.com)