There is very little I love as much as seafood, and crabmeat is way at the top of the list. So when I found some lump crab meat at Sam’s Club recently, I scooped it right up.
Sam’s really is a great go-to for seafood (as illustrated by our incredible ahi tuna on Valentine’s Day), although I’m also a big fan of several butchers and specialty grocery stores in the area:
- Ivan’s Old Time Meat Shop (Rogers)
- Bentonville Butcher & Deli (Bentonville)
- Pinnacle Station Local Market (Rogers)
- The Fresh Market (Rogers)
I do realize the humor in a vegetarian (ok, I think I’m technically a pesco-ovo-lacto vegetarian, but ain’t nobody got time for that…) making butcher recommendations. Stick with me here! As someone who does not consume meat but often picks it up, I need the best recommendations and advice on what to select and how to prepare it, and I’m only going to find that from a butcher.
Another option: my friend nwaFoodie is a fan of the meat selection of Allen’s Market in Bella Vista, and honestly, I know I would be too if it were in my neck of the woods!
And a total sidebar: I’m dying to read Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat & Obsession by Julie Powell (yes, Julie of Julie & Julia fame – a great book and also one of my favorite foodie flicks). Has anyone devoured it?
Incidentally: both Bentonville Butcher & Deli and Pinnacle Station Local Market also happen to have fantastic salad bars, and they are both on my list of (not so) secret places to sneak off and write or work over a solo lunch break.
Anyway, I digress: back to the crab meat. I originally had in mind a riff on the cangrejo I order regularly at Table Mesa in downtown Bentonville – one of my favorite restaurants and dishes in northwest Arkansas. Crabmeat and avocado just need to be together in my opinion (another favorite: fried egg + fresh avocado slices + crabcake for breakfast). However, let’s face it: some things can’t be replicated, and that dish just needs to be consumed at Table Mesa.
So, we decided on the fairly predictable but always delicious crab cake. This mini crab cake recipe is usually my go-to, but finding our household without Greek yogurt and being unwilling to leave the house, I compromised. As a result, this round of crab cakes was a bit of a departure from the usual, but it turned out to be one of the best batches we’ve made. It included:
16 ounces crab meat
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup panko
About 1/4 cup Hickory Farms Sweet Hot Mustard
Incidentally, that mustard was the remainder of a holiday gift jar from the office. It was a nice flavor and a good substitute for the Greek yogurt (and certainly a preferable replacement for mayonnaise or sour cream). If it hadn’t been on hand, I would have used Dijon or whole grain mustard. In addition, I threw in generous doses of:
Fresh ground black pepper
Old Bay Seasoning
Mix it all up, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place parchment on the baking sheet sprayed lightly with olive oil. Form the crab cakes (I made a dozen) and place on the parchment paper. In this case, I felt like the crab cakes had gotten a bit moist, so I sprinkled more panko (because more panko is like more cowbell – amiright?) on top.
The results were delightful – and in all honesty, it’s hard to mess up a crab cake. It seems a lot of people consider them intimidating, but it’s one of the easiest meals you can prepare at home. And as a quick check on how it stacks up on value in addition to taste: at $21.98 for 16 ounces and all other ingredients already in the pantry, that’s $1.83 per crab cake – they’re normally at least $4 apiece).
Paired with a nice salad, Boar’s Head Savory Remoulade and a glass of Blue Parachute from Post Familie Winery here in Arkansas, it was the perfect meal. Incidentally: I don’t drink much white wine and definitely prefer dry to sweet when I do, but the slightly effervescent Blue Parachute just worked here – promise!
Side note: word on the street is that these serve up nicely the next day for brunch with a mimosa and a cheesy cracker, but this can’t be confirmed without further research.