Crab Cakes on Toast with Aleppo-Lemon Mayo

Preserved lemon and Aleppo pepper put a Mediterranean spin on classic crab cakes, adding brightness and a subtle heat.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 45 min
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 12 crab cakes
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Ingredients

Crab Cakes:

8 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat

1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1 tablespoon finely chopped preserved lemon (see Cook's Note)

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 large egg white, lightly beaten

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon canola oil

Toast:

Four 1/4-inch-thick slices white bread

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (see Cook's Note)

Aleppo-Lemon Mayo:

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (see Cook's Note)

Kosher salt

Serving:

1 tablespoon finely chopped preserved lemon (see Cook's Note)

4 fresh chives, cut into 1-inch pieces

Directions

Special equipment:
a 2-inch round biscuit cutter or ring mold
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. For the crab cakes: Carefully pick through the crabmeat, removing any hard cartilage and small pieces of shell. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in the panko, mayonnaise, chives, preserved lemon, lemon zest, egg white, 1/2 teaspoon salt and few grinds of black pepper until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled through, about 15 minutes.
  3. For the toast: Meanwhile, use a 2-inch round biscuit cutter or ring mold to cut out 12 rounds of bread, then transfer to a rimmed baking sheet (reserve the 2-inch cutter for shaping the crab cakes). Melt the butter and Aleppo in a small saucepan over medium heat. Brush some of the butter mixture on each piece of bread. Bake until lightly toasted, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter.
  4. For the Aleppo-lemon mayo: Stir together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, Aleppo and a pinch of salt in a small bowl until smooth. Set aside for serving.
  5. Divide the crab cake mixture into 12 portions, then press each portion individually into the 2-inch round biscuit cutter to shape into a cake the same size as the toast (the crab cakes should be about 1/4 inch thick).
  6. Heat the butter and canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the crab cakes and cook until warmed through and golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  7. For serving: Place a crab cake on top of each toast round. Top with a small dollop of the Aleppo-lemon mayo, a couple of pieces of preserved lemon and a chive.

Cook’s Note

If preserved lemons are not available at your local grocery store, you can substitute fresh lemon zest. Preserved lemons are less acidic and saltier than fresh lemons (from the preservation process), but the fresh zest will still provide a lemony note. Aleppo pepper, also known as Halaby pepper, is ripened to a burgundy color, then semi-dried, seeded and coarsely ground. It's traditionally used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, and is about half as spicy as most chile flakes.

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