Here is a relatively recent post that lists all my family members’ recipes, but there’s been one serious cook who’s been missing until this point, and that’s my younger brother Antonio, or Tony, as we call him. As I do with all my family posts, I’m going to tell you a little about him, then share his very own recipe for crab cakes, which are phenomenal (he uses wild rice). I like to add photos to tell my story…
This is us when we were cute.
I don’t even know where to start to describe Tony, so maybe I’ll just give you some examples of things he’s done, and my guess is that you’ll put together your own mental image of what he’s like, and you’ll probably be spot on! Then we’ll get to his *AMAZING crab cakes (you can scroll to the bottom for the recipe).
When he was younger, he used to blow things up–a lot.
If he used anything, he’d often break it. This is actually still the case, and the reason why I panic whenever he picks up anything in my kitchen. Tony’s rough and doesn’t ever even try to be careful–that word is just not in his vocabulary. In fact, he totaled my car once, when I was away at college. So yeah, I worry about him in my kitchen. He must have given my parents every white hair on their heads when he was a teenager; don’t even ask. You’d think he’s dressed for church here, but what’s he holding? A slingshot.
When my son, Steven, was about 4 years old, he went for his very first sleepover with Uncle Tony. I dropped him off just before lunch and left soon after. When I picked up Steven the next day and asked him how his stay was, I started to get details. Immediately after I left, Uncle Tony had taken Steven to the beach and bought him ice cream. When Steven proclaimed, “But I haven’t had lunch yet!” Uncle Tony announced, “That is your lunch, kid!”
Tony babysat my daughter, Denisa, when she was almost two. I came home and panicked when I went to check on her and saw that her crib was empty! She wasn’t in the crib, but under it. I decided I couldn’t complain; at least he gave her a pillow and she was still in the house.
I can’t add the photo here, but let’s just say that Tony dressed up Denisa when she was about four, to look like she was a criminal, complete with a knit cap, dark glasses, and a gun. Oh, and he showed her how to grimace for a photo.
Tony used to decry anyone who ate sushi, saying, “Why would anyone want to eat raw fish?!” Then he went to Japan and came back stating that sushi was the best thing ever. My brother always proclaimed that he was never going to get married, yet he’s been married almost 7 years now. He also said he was never going to have kids; yep, you guessed it, his wife is expecting their first baby in two weeks!
He’s turned his childhood passion of blowing things up into a job of getting rockets into space. Honest, that’s really what he does! And when he gets home from work, he heads straight into the kitchen. Tony never sits, hardly ever sleeps and makes everyone around him just a wee bit crazy. He got all the dark Italian skin genes which is so unfair because I got none. He acts like a tough guy, but he loves to be in the kitchen (it’s usually his own, thank God), and always brings food to work for his colleagues.
And did I mention that he loves Dean Martin?
I think you’ve got the picture.
Let’s get to Tony’s crab cake recipe now. He brought these (in the photo below) to my house over the winter and we all devoured them in minutes. He made some in the traditional crab cake shape, and others in roundish bites, as in the photo. Honestly, they were the best crab cakes I’ve ever tasted (yes, I’ve been to the east coast and had them in Maryland).
In fact, when we were in Georgetown for my son’s graduation last month, one restaurant boasted that they were famous for their crab cakes, so we ordered some and they were truly disappointing after having Tony’s (I haven’t told him that)! We don’t like to compliment each other face to face, we do it behind each other’s backs. :)
Tony uses Alaskan King Crab legs for his crab cakes. Of course, using the best ingredients makes for the best results, but I used lump crab meat (for cost’s sake) when I made them, and although they didn’t have the same flavor as Tony’s, they were still better by far, than the ones at the Georgetown restaurant.
*I call these Antonio’s Amazing Crab Cakes because he absolutely cannot stand the overuse of the word “amazing”. My brother goes on rants about people stating absolutely everything is “amazing”, from a nail polish color, to the miracle of life, and how there is no gradient in between; so I like to use the word when I’m around him, more often than I usually do. Hey, that’s what siblings do, right? I’m an amazing sister!
Tony added this to the comments below because I forgot to tell you: you can also substitute the crab with salmon (precooked the day before) for delicious salmon cakes.
Makes about 8 crab cakes
Ingredients (amounts are not critical)
1 cup (8 oz) lump crab meat
1/2 cup (2 oz) wild rice, cooked
1/4 cup (2 oz) yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup (1 oz) red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup (2 oz) panko crumbs or roughly crushed crackers
1/4 cup (2 oz) mayonnaise
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Tapatio or other hot sauce
1/2 tsp sea salt
pepper, to taste
more panko crumbs for breading the cakes
olive oil for frying the crab cakes
1/4 cup (2 oz) mayonnaise
2 tsp Dijon mustard
a dash of Tapatio or other hot sauce
Sauté the onion and red bell pepper in olive oil for about 5 minutes.
Tony makes some pretty killer enchiladas too, so maybe I’ll have him show me how to make them and I can share with you, too. Until then, try these crab cakes and let “Uncle Tony” know how you like them in the comments below, because if you don’t he may make you an offer you can’t refuse…
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- 1 cup (8 oz) lump crab meat
- ½ cup (2 oz) wild rice, cooked
- ¼ cup (2 oz) yellow onion, diced
- ¼ cup (1 oz) red bell pepper, diced
- 1 egg
- ½ cup (2 oz) panko crumbs or roughly crushed crackers
- ¼ cup (2 oz) mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp Tapatio or other hot sauce
- ½ tsp sea salt
- pepper, to taste
- more panko crumbs for breading the cakes
- olive oil for frying the crab cakes
- ¼ cup (2 oz) mayonnaise
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- a dash of Tapatio or other hot sauce
- Sauté the onion and red bell pepper in olive oil for about 5 minutes.
- Place the crab, wild rice, onion and red pepper, egg, panko crumbs, mayonnaise, mustard, hot sauce, salt and pepper in large bowl and briefly and gently mix until combined.
- Refrigerate for at least an hour as they will hold their form better.
- While the mixture is chilling, make the sauce: combine the mayonnaise, mustard and hot sauce and stir until evenly combined. Keep refrigerated.
- When ready to serve the crab cakes, form into patties and dredge in panko, then place on a tray.
- Heat some olive oil in a nonstick sauté pan over medium high heat, then add a few cakes. Fry until golden brown on each side.
- Remove from pan and place on paper towel lined plate, then place on serving platter. Serve with sauce, while hot.