Beer and Crab … Need I Say More?

Beer Batter Crab Fritters
Beer Batter Crab Fritters

Somehow, I managed to hold on to a half pound of crab meat without eating it immediately! For those who know me, this is quite a feat. I can barely wait for a crab to cool before I start ripping the thing open, let alone let shelled meat wait to become part of a cooked dish.

But I’d decided on making crab cakes.

My past attempts have been OK, variations on some flour, egg, maybe a few herbs and, of course, crab. The best I’d previously done was one that included very few of the former and a whole lot of the latter. It was basically crab meat loosely held together by some stuff you couldn’t taste at all over the crab.

But I wanted to do it up right and fancy. Plus I’d recently thumbed through Seattle culinary icon Tom Douglas’ “I Love Crab Cakes!”, 50 recipes that examine different cake styles, different crabs and recipes from all over.

And then I happened upon a recipe that included another one of my favorite food-like substances: beer.

So it ended up being not exactly a crab cake, it’s technically a deep-fried fritter.

It turned out well, though I could have used a little more crab for my personal tastes. I used a pilsner so as not to overpower the flavor, which also ends up being a great leftover to pair with the fritters afterward. I lack a hot oil thermometer, so I probably had it a little too hot, not cooking the inside quickly enough before getting a deep browned outside and allowing the whole thing to crisp. I paired it with a garlic-y remoulade dip, that was OK, but not spectacular so I’m not adding the recipe here. The book has one that I’ve yet to try. I also served a side salad and a corn cornbread.

And without further adieu, here’s the recipe:

Beer Batter Crab Fritters

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
2 scallions, finely chopped, white and green parts
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon beer
1 large egg, separated
1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 pound crab meat, drained, shell pieces removed
Canola oil, enough to fill pan to two inches
lemon wedges

In a bowl, mix together the flour, paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Add the bell pepper, scallions, beer egg yolk and butter. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the crabmeat. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the egg white to soft peaks. Gently but thoroughly fold the egg white into the fritter mixture.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Fill a straight-sided pot with at least 2 inches of oil and heat to 350 degrees F, checking the temperature with a frying thermometer. Drop scant tablespoons of batter into the hot oil, adding as many as fit comfortably. Fry the fitters until golden brown, puffy, and cooked through. Remove the fritters from the oil with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels, and keep warm in the oven while you dry the remaining batter. You should get 24 to 26 small fritters.

Transfer the fritters to plates and serve hot with Spicy Remoulade and lemon wedges.