Zeke lies on the floor next to me, drifting in and out of sleep. He looks up when my chair slightly rolls to the left or I reach for coffee. Whenever the pets are around, I’m always reminded of the great W.S Merwin line “the eyes of animals are upon us.” There’s no other feeling. In Maine, I would fall asleep between dogs, feeling safe and at ease with the world under me.
I looked up “ground” in the dictionary and found all these great, simple phrases with the word. The phrase “on the ground” particularly stood out. “On the ground” refers to a “place where real, practical work is done.” What real, practical work did I achieve as a child on the floor with dogs? Did I feel the ground soften as I do now? When Zeke rests his heavy head on my neck and I look up at the ceiling or sky, I feel more solid. The work is done.
Sunday night meals prepare the ground for the coming week. I really love this tradition, especially when it involves a nice bottle of wine. Last sunday I made my famous crab cakes. I always turn to this recipe when I want something fresh and special. When Philip Levine came over for lunch a couple of years ago, I made these crab cakes. I’ve always wanted to write a poem about it and title it “Crab Cakes for Philip Levine.” I’m not sure if he would be too amused though. For my dad’s opening reception party, I made 50 miniature crab cakes. This recipe is a parent, party and partner pleaser. Triple threat.
Unlike most prepared crab cakes, this recipe barely has any breadcrumbs. I bind my crab cakes loosely, which I think makes them taste more fresh. One pound of crab meat makes four generous cakes. Two pounds of crab meat makes fifty delectable ones.
I serve them over salad with a shallot-lemon zest vinaigrette. I like a crusty baguette and bright green asparagus on the side.
Most Amazing Crab Cakes Ever
(serves a hungry four)
- 1 pound crab meat
- 1 lemon, 3 tbs fresh lemon zest
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2 tbs mayo
- 2 tbs dijon mustard
- cracked pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tbs parsley
- 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 1 egg
For vinaigrette to pour over crab cakes and salad
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- cracked pepper
- 2 tbs lemon zest
- 1 small shallot, finely diced
- Combine crab, mayo, mustard, 2 tbs lemon zest, garlic clove, cracked pepper, egg, parsley and bread crumbs.
- Lightly form into balls. Optional: pat with dried bread crumbs.
- Over a medium-heat, melt 2 tbs butter or oil in pan. Once pan’s warm, slide crab cakes in. Allow 5-6 minutes per side. These crab cakes do have the tendency to break so make sure you keep binding them back together with your hand or spatula.
- Serve over mixed greens with the special vinaigrette poured over each cake.
And by all means, do not forget to kiss the cat!