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Fancy Panko-Encrusted Crab Cake Sandwich

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I love eating traditional Maryland Crab Cake sandwiches, the ones I learned to make from my grandmother Edna.

From time to time however, I like to take her recipe and experiment to see how far I can push this tried and true dish to new places. On those occasions, I use panko instead of crushed crackers. It’s light and fluffy and enhances the succulent flavor of the crab. And I add a bunch of other flavorful ingredients such as caramelized onions, chives, lemon zest, and Parmesan cheese. To top it off I roll the entire cake in panko which I spray with olive oil so that it crisps up while baking. Edna would have fried it in butter!

I plate the crab cake on a thick slice of toasted country bread, slathered in tartar sauce, with two tomatoes slices and cilantro. Fancy panko-encrusted crab cake sandwich is a fun departure from what I ate as a kid, yet the flavor isn’t too different, so this sandwich still reminds me of weekends down at the shore and family gatherings.

Instructions:
  • In a large bowl combine the onions, chives, lemon, cayenne, Parmesan, Old Bay, mayonnaise, and egg.
  • Mix until well combined. Add in the panko and mix again.
  • Gently fold in the crabmeat and set aside in the refrigerator for 20 minutes so the flavors can meld.
  • To prepare the crab cake, preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Pour some panko into a wide shallow bowl.
  • Scoop out 3 ounces of crab mixture and form it into a mound.
  • Drop it into the shallow bowl and cover it completely with panko.
  • Set it on a sheet pan and spray it with olive oil.
  • Repeat until all the crab cakes are on the sheet pan.
  • Thee crab cakes are delicate and are best baked rather than fried, where they might fall apart because of the lack of filler.
  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  • If the crust has not turned golden brown, remove the crab cakes and turn on the broiler.
  • When it is hot, broil the crab cakes for 1 to 2 minutes or until golden.
  • Top the crab cakes on a piece of toast with the tartar sauce, tomato slices and cilantro.
  • Serve with the second piece of toast to complete the sandwich.
Ingredients:
  • For the crab cake:
  • ¼ cup packed with sautéed caramelized onions, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped chives
  • ¾ teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon Cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup loosely packed freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • ¼ cup Panko, plus more for the crust
  • 1 pound backfin Maryland crabmeat picked over for shells
  • For the sandwich:
  • 12 toasted bread slices
  • 12 tomato slices
  • tartar sauce
  • cilantro
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