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David Lissner
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Eat this! Crabcakes, an American delicacy

Hugo's crab cakes.

Hugo's crab cakes.

What it is: An American delicacy, crabcakes are made from fresh crabmeat, traditionally blue crab, mixed with seasonings and sometimes fillers such as breadcrumbs, formed into a patty, coated with flour or more breadcrumbs and fried to a delicate crispness.

Jose Sosa

Jose Sosa

Where it comes from: At this point crabcakes have spread across the country, but they’re considered to be a specialty of Baltimore. The earliest print references to “crabcakes” date from Maryland in the late 19th century, but recipes for essentially similar dishes under other names existed at least several hundred years earlier, and it seems likely American recipes were adapted to local crustaceans by British colonials from even older recipes for minced seafood cakes.

What to do with it: Crabcakes can be served as an appetizer, a main course or even a sandwich.

At Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House on the Gold Coast and in Des Plaines and Naperville, Chef Jose Sosa serves crab cakes with hot pink mayo.

Hugo’s crab cakes with hot pink mayo
Chef Jose Sosa

3 large eggs
2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon Louisiana hot sauce
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1/2 tablespoon finely sliced green onions
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound lump crabmeat
3/4 cup breadcrumbs

In a medium bowl, beat 2 of the eggs and stir in the buttermilk, sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire, celery and onions, and season with salt and pepper.

Gently add the crabmeat and the 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs. Press into 7-ounce, round molds. Beat the remaining egg, dip each crabcake, then dredge in the remaining breadcrumbs.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat a medium saute pan on high-medium heat. Add a bit of butter to the pan and pan-sear the crabcakes on both sides for 2-minutes. Finish cooking the crab cakes in the oven for 8 more minutes, until browned. Serve with hot pink mayo 4. servings.

Hot pink mayo

1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Louisiana hot sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 green onions, chopped
1 medium red onion, finely diced
1/2 stalk celery, finely diced

Combine all ingredients. Makes about 1 cup.

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