Why should oysters have all the fun? After all, crabs are bigger, meatier and more vicious (making our conquest over them all the more victorious!) And, I’ll unapologetically claim that this recipe is “healthy” since the crab cakes are baked, not fried, and spinach counts as a green vegetable.
Total kitchen time: 1 hour
Makes: about 6 jumbo crab cakes
- 1 lb lump crab claw meat (I love the canned stuff at Trader Joe’s – you can’t beat the price)
- 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
- 4 green onions, finely diced
- 1 cup bread crumbs (Panko works great too)
- 4 tbsp. honey
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 slices bacon or prosciutto
- 4 cups (uncooked) baby spinach
- 1/4 cup watercress stems
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
- good salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- olive oil (in a sprayer, if you’ve got one)
- Preheat your oven to 375°F and set the top rack to the middle position (BTW, this recipe is a great toaster oven candidate). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or a nonstick cooking mat.
- In a large bowl, combine the crab meat, diced red bell pepper, half of the diced green onion (reserving the other half) and half of the bread crumbs (reserving the other half). Mix in the honey and chili powder, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
- I like to form my crab cakes by pressing them into a 1/2 cup measure, squeezing tightly so they’ll hold their shape. You can mould them with your hands as well, but be sure to press them together tightly or they might fall apart in transit to the plates. Arrange the crab cakes on the lined baking sheet, leaving at least 1” between each crab cake.
- Using your olive oil sprayer (if you have one; or by drizzling olive oil) lightly coat the outside of each crab cake. This will help with browning and to form an outer crust. Bake at 375°F for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Meanwhile, fry the bacon or prosciutto in a large skillet until crispy. Set aside to drain, then crumble into small pieces using a sharp knife.
- Finely chop the spinach and watercress stems. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute. Then, add the remaining green onion, bread crumbs and watercress stems. Sauté 1 minute more. Finally, add the chopped spinach and cook until wilted, 1-2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- To serve, plate a crab cake atop a smear of the spinach mixture, then sprinkle the whole plate with crumbled bacon.