A summer treat in a pinch


SWEET SEAFOOD Crab cakes make for a nutritious, delicious meal.

The Cabots

As the wet summer finally gave way to the recent splendid weather we revelled in an array of seasonal produce; courgettes, local lettuce, lamb and crab.
The temperatures might have dropped, but we can still enjoy the tastes of summer.
Crab has always held an exotic allure. Sweet and absolutely delicious when super-fresh, Rightly highly valued.
I’m not talking here about the browned sludge mix of unscrupulous factories, but the fresh, shining, white crabmeat picked from the pincher claws and good parts – those pale meaty bits that glisten radiantly so you can make out the particular strands and fibers of the flesh. Select and shop your delicious white crabmeat well; ask around if you are not finding what you seek. The answer is never too far away.

A good crab cake
What makes a good crab cake? This is both a very easy and a very difficult question to answer! On a simple level it is fresh ingredients, fresh ingredients, fresh ingredients.
On a more-difficult level it is a series of nuances that must all combine to come together – balance of flavour, correct mixing, cooking temperature, and style of presentation.
Have a go here at this version that worked for us at home.

Red’s Achill Island Crab Cakes
For years, the continentals happily snapped up our crab. Now we have cottoned on, and there are several excellent local and national producers of Irish crabmeat. We have this delicious bounty all along our Western seaboard, and we should eat it and sing its praises from the roof tops. Sustainably fished, crabmeat is delicious, charming and nutritious!

What you need

  • 250g fresh crabmeat
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 8 tbsps breadcrumbs
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 2 fresh red chillies, chopped
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander
  • Plain flour
  • Olive oil
  • Seasoning

What you do
In a mixing bowl, combine the crabmeat, chilli, spring onions and coriander. Break one egg in and mix well, then add half the breadcrumbs. After stirring, divide the mixture into six balls and squash them out by hand to make patties – use flour on your hands if the mixture is sticky!
Traditional recipes say to place these patties on a tray in the fridge for 20 minutes prior to cooking; it is meant to set the crab cakes well. (We were stuck for time and began cooking shortly after forming them.) Make an egg wash in a separate bowl with remaining egg and a splash of water.
Spread some seasoned flour on a bowl plate, and spread the remaining breadcrumbs on another. The process is to then roll and cover each cake in flour, then dip in the egg wash and then transfer to breadcrumbs to coat. The patties are then lifted gently into a preheated frying pan with olive oil over a medium-high heat.
Cook each cake for about two minutes on either side. Each cake should be crispy somewhat outside and golden brown all over. Now transfer all cakes to a baking tray, lined with baking parchment, and place in a pre-heated 170ºc oven.
Continue to cook for eight minutes and remove to serve. The classic contemporary accompaniment is a lovely fresh, tossed green salad with vinaigrette, and some sweet chili jam – or tartar sauce and a lemon wedge. If you’re feeling bolder, try serving with rings of roasted beetroot with peeled apple quarters or slices, or a soft-boiled egg on some wilted spinach. Lastly, season if required with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt. Remember to work on the presentation – we eat with our eyes too! Enjoy.

— Redmond

The Cabot family live and work in Lanmore, outside Westport. Fresh, seasonal foods are their passion, from country markets to growing, making and selling. They love cooking and eating at the kitchen table, while Redmond and Sandra are kept on their toes with children Penny and Louis. Here they share their favourite recipes.