I have a thing for anything mini, and that infatuation includes food. I especially love to make a whole dinner out of bite-sized dishes. What I enjoy most is that you get to sample many different flavors, turning the meal into a tasting menu of sorts. It’s a great formula to ask guests to contribute to the meal, too. Each guest brings one or two cocktail bites of his or her making, and voilà—you have a full, interesting meal with minimal work required from all parties involved. To up the challenge, you can even ask your guests to bring a specific wine to serve with each course so you get the pairings as well—all the ingredients for a delicious night to remember!
Crab cakes seem to be the perfect food to serve bite size. This recipe is perfect for parties year-round: you can make them with fresh crab when it’s in season or with frozen crab the rest of the year. They taste great, but you’ll particularly love them because they can easily be made in advance: Just bake the crab cakes, let them cool completely, and store in an airtight container in the fridge or the freezer. To reheat, place on a baking sheet in a 350°F [175°C] oven for 6 to 8 minutes. Bake a double batch in advance, and you’ll always have perfect nibbles on hand to serve to last minute visitors.
I like to serve these crab cakes with a lemon-herb mayo, but you might as well serve it with mayo spiked with sriracha, hollandaise sauce, or tartar sauce. Your choice!
Makes Makes 24 crab cakes
These easy to make Crunchy Mini Crab Cakes are perfect not only for parties year-round, but also for munching during dinner time!
Make the crab cakes: Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese in medium bowl until smooth. Add ¼ cup [60 ml] Parmesan and egg; beat to blend. Beat in yogurt, orange and lemon zest, chives, kosher salt, and cayenne pepper. Fold in crabmeat.
Preheat oven to 350°F [175°C]. Generously butter (or grease with cooking spray) 2 mini muffin pans. (If you only have one pan, bake the crab cakes in batches, storing the remaining mixture in the fridge while the first batch is baking). Toss panko and the remaining ½ cup [125 ml] Parmesan in a small bowl. Drizzle the melted butter over the mixture, mixing with a fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Press 1 rounded tablespoon [15 ml] panko mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup, forming the crust. Spoon 1 generous tablespoon [15 ml] crab mixture over each crust. Sprinkle an additional rounded teaspoon [5 ml] of panko mixture over each crabcake. (There may be some panko mixture left over. If there is, bake and sprinkle over a salad.)
Bake the crab cakes until golden on top and set, about 30 minutes. Cool in pans 5 minutes. Run knife around each cake and gently lift out of pan. Serve immediately, or set on a wire rack and let cool completely, if you are preparing the crab cakes in advance.
Make the lemon-dill mayo: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to use.
To serve, arrange the warm crab cakes on serving platter, and sprinkle with chives. Serve with Lemon-Herb Mayo on the side.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Rewarm on a baking sheet in a 350°F [175°C] oven for 6 to 8 minutes.
MAKE IT DAIRY FREE
For the crab cakes: Use dairy-free cream cheese in place of regular cream cheese (I use Daiya's plain cream cheese style spread). Use lactose-free Greek-style or lactose-free regular plain yogurt in place of regular Greek-style yogurt (Liberté or Green Valley Organics make two excellent options). Use extra-virgin olive oil in place of melted butter, and grease the pan with canola cooking spray, in place of melted butter.
For the lemon-dill mayo: Use lactose-free Greek-style yogurt in place of regular diary yogurt.
Recipe Credit: Marie Asselin