Crab Cakes with Avocado Sauce

One of my favorite go-to recipes from Jacques Pépin's cookbook, "Essential Pépin." Who knew that you could make delectable crab cakes with canned crab (of course you can use fresh crab)! Keep a few cans in your pantry for those unexpected guests – they'll love you for it! One of my favorite tips is to use fresh bread crumbs. Cube a slice of bread, put it in a mini-processor, and voila! Breadcrumbs in seconds. His recipe calls for Tabasco, but I prefer Sriracha. The cakes are served over a bed of salsa made with tomato, avocado, red wine vinegar, peanut oil, salt and pepper, and the dish is sprinkled with chopped, fresh chives. Whenever I make this for lunch, or for a dinner first or main course, I'm one happy camper!

 Click  here  to watch a video of Jacques preparing this wonderful dish!

Click here to watch a video of Jacques preparing this wonderful dish!

Recipe

CRAB CAKES
1/4 tsp. salt
8 oz. crabmeat
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 T. chopped fresh chives
1/8 tsp. Sriracha (or Tabasco)
3 T. mayonnaise
1-1/2 slices white bread, processed to make crumbs (3/4 c.)
2 T. peanut oil

SALSA
1 ripe avocado
1 ripe tomato, peeled, halved, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1 T. red wine vinegar
2 T. peanut oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 T. water
1 T. chopped fresh chives

FOR THE CRAB CAKES: Pick the crabmeat over for any shells or cartilage. Cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1-1/2 loosely packed cups).

Gently mix the crabmeat with the salt, pepper, thyme, chives, Sriracha, and mayonnaise in a bowl. Add the bread crumbs and toss them lightly into the mixture.

Divide into portions and form into patties about 1-inch thick. Handle gently, the cakes are fragile.

Heat the peanut oil in a large skillet. When hot, carefully place the patties in the skillet and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, until nicely browned.

FOR THE SALSA: Peel and pit the avocado and coarsely chop; combine the avocado and tomato in a bowl. Add the vinegar, oil, pepper, salt, and water, tossing gently to mix.

To serve, spoon the avocado mixture onto four individual plates and sprinkle with the chives. Place the crab cakes on top and serve.

– Jacques Pépin, "Essential Pépin"