Makes about 12-14
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion
1 Tablespoon water, if needed
1 cup heavy (double) cream
1-1/2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1-1/2 Tablespoons jarred pimiento (sweet pepper) finely chopped
salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 egg lightly beaten
1 pound lump crabmeat
1-1/4 cups fine dried bread crumbs (old bread, dried out on counter or oven ground up in food processor)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
In a small saute pan over low heat, melt 1 Tablespoon of the butter. Add the celery and onion, cover, and cook very gently until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the water if the vegetables begin to brown. Add the cream, raise the heat to medium, and simmer, stirring frequently to prevent from boiling over, until reduced and very thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into heatproof bowl and let cool.
Add the mustard, pimiento, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper to cooled cream mixture and mix. Whisk in the egg, then the add the crabmeat, breaking it up a little but leaving some lumps. Toss gently until mixed.
Pour the bread crumbs onto a plate, spreading them into a layer. Scoop up a golf ball-sized portion of the crab mixture and gently squeeze out any liquid. Shape into a small patty. The mixture will be very wet and loose. Place the crab cake on the crumbs and cover with more crumbs.
Using a spatula put the cake onto your hand and then back on the spatula to remove loose crumbs and place the cake onto a platter. Repeat making about 12 to 14 cakes. cover and refrigerate at least one hour, but two to three hours would be better.
In a large frying pan with medium-low heat melt 1 Tablespoon of butter and 1 Tablespoon of oil.
When the foam quiets down, gently slide half the cakes into the pan. Cook on one side until golden brown (about 5-6 minutes). Turn and brown other side (about 4-5 minutes). Keep cakes warm in low oven. Wipe out pan with paper towel and repeat to make second batch of cakes. Squeeze the half-lemon over the cakes. Serve with aioli if desired.
Adapted recipe from Williams Sonoma "Hors D'Oeuvre"
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