Dungeness crab cakes with tarragon aioli

Time 30 minutes
Yields Serves 6
Dungeness crab cakes with tarragon aioli
(Los Angeles Times)

Make the aioli by processing the egg yolks, garlic, lemon juice, one-half teaspoon salt and Tabasco sauce in a food processor or blender until thoroughly mixed. Add the water and process 15 seconds. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture comes together and thickens. Transfer it to a bowl and stir in the tarragon. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 2 days.


To make the crab cakes, combine the crabmeat, breadcrumbs, green onions and one-half cup of the aioli. The mixture should hold together. If it doesn’t, add a little more aioli. Season with salt to taste.


Form the mixture into 6 (3-inch) cakes. Sprinkle some more breadcrumbs on a plate and dip one side of each crab cake in the crumbs.


Using a skillet big enough to hold the cakes comfortably (or cook the cakes in batches), heat the oil over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the crab cakes, crumb side down, and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Turn the cakes, reduce the heat slightly and cook until golden brown and heated through, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Serve with the remaining tarragon aioli on the side.

This recipe is adapted from one by chef Nicholas Petti at Fort Bragg’s Mendo Bistro. It won the annual Mendocino crab cake cook-off so many times that it is now retired. Petti serves this with a simple tart cabbage slaw.

Russ Parsons is a former food writer and columnist at the Los Angeles Times.
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