The day we left Phoenix to come to Seattle it was 105F….and that was October 1st! Dressed in shorts, t-shirt and flip flops(I was at least smart enough to bring a sweatshirt for the plane) I stepped on to Washington soil. We were certainly dressed for Phoenix weather and were in quite a shock when the 48F weather touched our wimpy skin. For anything below 70F in Phoenix was cold. Which is ironic since anything now anything above 70F seems hot.
Moving to Seattle was quite a leap of faith. I had never been to Seattle, with the exception of a layover and we stayed on the plane for that. Fed up with the LA lifestyle that was creeping into the Phoenix area and I of course hating the heat, we decided to move to Western Washington. So the hubby, the pooch and I all moved to Seattle, Washington not knowing a soul here. My dog and I had a lot of great conversations the first couple months we moved here.
My husband was working for Amazon.com at the time and they had moved us out here, placing us in corporate housing in Belltown. It was a good location, within walking distance of the famed Pike’s Place Market as well as a plethora of restaurants. The apartment itself was okay. The kitchen was horrid. Though “fully” furnished, we were only equipped with a saute pan that was about the size of a pancake. One small pot. One wooden spoon that looked like it had gotten stuck in the garbage disposal one too many a time. Three mixing bowls. A really large metal fork or small pitch fork…I couldn’t decide. No baking pans, nothing. So right away I knew that cooking wasn’t going to be happening since not only was there little to cook with(and hubby had already vetoed me getting more cooking stuff), all of the burners were tilted and cooked nothing even. Excellent.
I thought I would be fine with that. We will eat out at all the great places I thought.
Fine, until my first trip down to the market. Oh that was torture.
I stood and watched the famous Pike’s Place Fish Market guys toss fish back and forth like a baseball. I am quite sure I am happy not to do their laundry on a daily basis. Yuck. Though fish were flying around, it was the crab that I was eying. I was standing there trying to figure out how I could crack open that crab using the mutilated wooden spoon and the large metal fork. The reality was, that was not happening. Well, not without injuring myself(which I am gifted at doing).
Still needing my crab fix, I headed across the street from the market to Etta’s , a Tom Douglas restaurant. I knew very little of Seattle(well coffee and grunge), but I knew of Tom Douglas. He is Seattle cuisine. Owner of several restaurants, cookbook author(including the one we gave away for this blog), and radio host, Douglas help put the Seattle food scene on the map. I ordered the crab cakes. They were different than what I was used to, for everywhere in Phoenix uses blue lump crab. Dungeness crab is much stringier than lump crab, therefore having a very different texture. Some claim it is sweeter but I have not noticed that. Different, but good.
In thinking about what would be my first “real” post for this blog I decided to go with those crab cakes. They were one of my first tastes of Seattle. My first Tom Douglas restaurant. My first Dungeness crab cake.
Here is the slightly adapted recipe. In the restaurant they serve it with a green cocktail sauce, but I like mine with aioli. And since there were chives in the cakes, I stuck with that theme.
Etta’s Crab Cakes
1½ hours | 30 min prep | SERVES 4 -6
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon finely chopped green onions
2 tsp finely chopped chives
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sour cream
1 lb fresh Dungeness crab meat, picked clean of shell and lightly squeezed if wet
4 cups fresh breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons approx. unsalted butter
In a small food processor, combine egg yolk, vinegar, mustard, green onion, chives, Tabasco, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper.
Pulse to mince the vegetables and combine the ingredients.
With motor running, slowly add oil through the feed tube until the mixture emulsifies and forms a thin mayonnaise.
Transfer mayonnaise mixture to a large bowl and stir in sour cream, then carefully fold in crab meat.
Gently form into 8 crab cakes, about 3 inches across and ¾-inch thick.
Put the fresh bread crumbs in a shallow container.
Lightly dredge the crab cakes on both sides in the bread crumbs.
Chill for at least 1 hour (preferably longer).
Put 2 large nonstick skillets over medium heat and add about 2 tablespoons butter to each pan. When butter is melted, add 4 cakes to each pan.
Gently fry until golden brown on both sides and hot through, turning once with a spatula, about 4 minutes on each side.
Depending on appetites, suggest service of two crab cakes per serving, with lemon wedges.
Source: Adapted from I Love Crab Cakes: 50 Recipes for an American Classic by Tom Douglas with Shelley Lance
1 cup mayonnaise
5 TBSP chopped fresh chives
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/2 tsp lemon zest
Whisk mayonnaise, chives, mustard,lemon zest and garlic in small bowl to blend.