Dinner Tonight: Crab Cakes + Radish Couscous

Here's a dinner that feels truly elevated even though it's a cinch to throw together. Crispy, moist crab cakes are always a treat, and they play perfectly against a perky couscous salad full of radishes and cucumber. You've got texture, color, taste -- and of course, it all comes together in about an hour.

The Menu

Bridget Binns' Crab Cakes by Genius Recipes

Crab CakesCrab Cakes

Makes 12-14 warm bites

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon water, if needed
1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) heavy (double) cream
1 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped jarred pimiento (sweet pepper)
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 pound (500 g) lump crabmeat
1 1/4 cup (5 oz/155 g) fine dried bread crumbs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 lemon, cut in wedges, for serving

1. In a small saute pan over low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the celery and onion, cover, and cook very gently until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the water if the vegetables begin to brown. Add the cream, raise the heat to medium, and simmer, stirring frequently to prevent the mixture from boiling over, until reduced and quite thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, pour into a heatproof bowl, and let cool.

2. Add the mustard, pimiento, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper to the cooled cream mixture and mix well. Whisk in the egg, then add the crabmeat, breaking it up a little but leaving some small lumps intact. Toss gently until evenly mixed.

3. Pour the bread crumbs onto a plate, spreading them in an even layer. Scoop up a golf ball-sized portion of the crab mixture and gently squeeze out any excess liquid. Shape into a small patty. The mixture will be quite wet and loose. Place the crab cake on the crumbs, then scoop more crumbs over the top. Using a spatula, carefully turn the cake over onto your palm, letting the excess crumbs fall back onto the plate. Turn the cake back over onto the spatula and slide it gently onto a platter. Repeat to make the remaining crab cakes, 12-14 in all. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably 2 hours, or up to 3 hours.

4. In a large frying pan over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter with 1 tablespoon of the oil. When the foam subsides, gently slide half of the crab cakes into the pan. Cook the first sides until golden brown, 5-6 minutes. Turn and brown on the second sides, 4-5 minutes longer. Keep the first batch of cakes warm in a low oven. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel and repeat to make the second batch of crab cakes. Serve with lemon wedges.

Save and print this recipe at Food52.

Radish Couscous

Get the Radish Couscous recipe at Food52.

The Grocery List

Serves 4

Israeli couscous
Chicken stock
1 avocado
Avocado oil (or olive oil)
1 package of edamame
1 bunch of radishes
1 kirby cucumber
1 small serrano chile
3 scallions
2 handfuls of arugula
2 celery stalks
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons jarred pimento (sweet peppers)
1 pound lump crabmeat
1 1/4 cup fine dried breadcrumbs

We know you've got a well-stocked pantry and refrigerator so you'll have chicken stock, salt, pepper, butter, eggs, onions, lemons, and mustard on hand. If not, add those to the list!

The Plan

1. Cut and sauté the vegetables for the crab cakes, and add the cream; this mixture should take a few minutes to cool. While it's cooling, cook the cous cous, and then set aside to cool, as well.

2. Mix the rest of the crab cake batter, and then shape and coat them. Put on a platter and stick in the freezer for 20 minutes (this has the same effect as putting them in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, as the instructions say to do, but takes much less time).

3. While the cakes are in the freezer, cut the radishes, cucumber, scallions and chile for the salad. Mix those together with the rest of the ingredients. Make your dressing and set aside.

4. Take the crab cakes out of the freezer and fry them in batches. When those are done, toss your salad with the dressing, and serve! (The crab cakes are great with a little fresh lemon juice squeezed on them.)

Photos by James Ransom