Crab cakes crusted with panko—coarse Japanese-style breadcrumbs—are super easy, elegant appetizers that are perfect for any occasion.
Sunset JANUARY 2002
1. Sort through crab and discard any bits of shell.
2. In a large bowl, combine celery, minced chives, mayonnaise, egg, mustard, and hot sauce; mix well with a fork. Add crab and 1/4 cup panko; stir gently just to mix.
3. Put remaining 1 cup panko in a shallow bowl. Shape crab mixture into 24 cakes, each about 2 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. Turn each cake in panko to coat on all sides, pressing gently to make crumbs adhere. Place cakes slightly apart in an oiled 12- by 17-inch baking pan.
4. Bake in a 475° regular or convection oven until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. With a spatula, transfer crab cakes to a platter. Spoon a dollop of Roasted Pepper-Chive Aioli onto each cake. Garnish platter with fresh chives. Serve hot.
Roasted Pepper-Chive Aioli. In a small bowl, mix 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup chopped drained canned roasted red peppers, 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon minced garlic. Makes about 1/2 cup.
Notes: The Japanese-style coarse bread crumbs called panko are available in many well-stocked supermarkets and in Asian grocery stores. You can make the aioli up to 2 days ahead and the crab cakes through step 3 up to 4 hours ahead; in both cases, cover and chill.
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