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Crab and Corn Cakes with Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce

Corn pairs well with the crabmeat in these crispy cakes because it does not mask the seafood’s delicate flavor. The easy mayonnaise-based dipping sauce, a heady mix of heat, sweet and tart, is the ideal bright, bold accompaniment.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 4 slices soft white bread, crusts trimmed and bread cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup minced green onions, both white and green portions
  • 1 lb. jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
  • 2 Tbs. chili-garlic sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. honey
  • Grated zest of 1 lime
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Lemon or lime wedges for serving

Directions:

Put the corn kernels in a food processor and pulse 3 or 4 times, until the kernels are broken up but still chunky.

Transfer the corn to a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the mayonnaise, 1 Tbs. of the lime juice, the Old Bay seasoning, the 1/4 tsp. salt and the egg and stir to combine. Add the bread cubes, green onions and crabmeat and toss gently to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, to make the dipping sauce, in a bowl, stir together the remaining 1 cup mayonnaise, the remaining 2 Tbs. lime juice, the chili-garlic sauce, honey and lime zest. Season with salt. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Place the bread crumbs in a shallow bowl. Divide the crab mixture into 12 equal portions and shape each portion into a patty 1 inch thick. Gently coat the entire surface of each patty evenly with the bread crumbs. Place the cakes on a baking sheet, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Place a large fry pan over medium-high heat and coat with a thin film of oil. Working in batches, gently place about 4 cakes at a time in the pan, being careful not to crowd them. Fry until golden on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a spatula, carefully flip the cakes over and fry until browned on the other side, 3 to 4 minutes more. Transfer the cakes to paper towels to drain briefly. Repeat with the remaining cakes, adding more oil to the pan as needed.

Transfer the cakes to a platter and serve warm, with lemon wedges and the dipping sauce. Makes 12 cakes; serves 4 to 6.

Drink note: The delicate texture of crabmeat begs for the finesse of a sparkling wine. But corn forms a lovely marriage with Chardonnay, a specialty of France and California. The solution? Open a bottle of Blanc de Blancs, sparkling wine made solely from Chardonnay grapes.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Two in the Kitchen, by Christie Dufault & Jordan Mackay (Weldon Owen, 2012).