27 essential Western dishes

Taste local flavor in every bite of these star recipes that define the West

Classic Crabcakes
Photo by Annabelle Breakey

Classic Crabcakes

These simple, delicious crabcakes, from Nicholas Petti, owner of Mendo Bistro in Fort Bragg, California, won the Mendocino Crab & Wine Days Crabcake Cook-off in both 2002 and 2003.

Classic Crabcakes recipe:

  • 1 lb. shelled cooked crab (about 2 3/4 cups)
  • 1 3/4 cups panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs) or other fine dried bread crumbs, divided
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
  • Tarragon Aioli (recipe below)
  • About 1/2 cup vegetable oil, divided
1. Combine crab, 3/4 cup panko, and the onions in a bowl. Gently mix in 1/2 cup aioli.

2. Press mixture firmly into 8 patties about 3 in. wide; set, separated, on waxed paper or foil. Pour remaining 1 cup panko into a shallow bowl.

3. Preheat oven to 200°. Pour 1/3 cup oil into a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When hot, set each crabcake in panko; using a slotted spatula, turn, pressing gently to coat. Cook in small batches, adding more oil as needed, until golden brown on bottom, 3 to 4 minutes; turn gently and cook until browned on other side, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Serve with aioli.

Tarragon Aoili recipe: Blend 2 egg yolks*, 3 peeled garlic cloves, 1/3 cup lemon juice, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a blender until smooth. With machine running, gradually pour in 1 cup vegetable oil and 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil in a slow stream until smooth, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped tarragon, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. hot sauce, and more lemon juice and salt to taste.

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