Even though crab meat is packaged fresh and clean of shell there are always some shell fragments remaining. Open the crab meat, dump into a clean dish, and with scrupulously clean hands, pick through and clean the crabmeat of all shell fragments. Be careful of the delicate nature of such a high quality product and try not to crumble the large lumps of crab. Mix the crabmeat with the sweet peppers, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro leaves, and mayonnaise. Add the seasoning powder, 4 tablespoons of the bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. Mix well then refrigerate the mixture for twenty minutes. A cold mix is easier to work with and form into cakes.
Cover a work surface with waxed paper and sprinkle with half of the remaining bread crumbs. Scoop up and divide the crabmeat into 6 equalsize portions and place each mound on the work space. With the a portion of crab in the palm of one hand pat the crab with the fingers of your other hand into a diskshaped cake approximately 3/4-inch thick. It is important for the crab cakes to be the same thickness so that they will cook uniformly. Pat each cake with the bread crumbs, turning them so they coat evenly on all sides. Refrigerate for at least an hour so that the firm enough to cook and in this way prevent them from crumbling.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Not more than half an hour before you plan to serve the crab cakes add enough oil to cover the bottom of a saute pan. Heat until just before it begins to smoke. Add the crab cakes gently, being careful not to crowd the pan. (Cook them in two batches if necessary.) Turn the cakes and brown the second side. When the crab cakes are well browned to a rich golden on both sides, place on a heat proof platter and into a 375 degree oven for 6 to 8 minutes to ensure that they are fully cooked and hot at the center. Serve with chili mayonnaise and a mango salad.
Copyright Michael Lomonaco 1997