The Krabby Patty from SpongeBob SquarePants has been stuck in my head for years. From the time my kids enjoyed watching SpongeBob, I heard "Krabby Patty" over and over. I assumed it was a crab cake patty because there was a crab walking around in the show. I swear, for all these years I thought it was crabby with a "C," not "Krabby," until I Googled it yesterday. When I told my boys, now grown, they laughed. Jay said it's a secret formula so no one actually knows what the patty is made of, but it looks like a meat patty. Well, my version of a crabby patty looks like the classic Chinese egg foo yung my dad used to make in the morning before the restaurant he worked at opened. There were always at least a few dozen on the grill. They were big sellers with combination plates but I always liked mine with seafood.
Since our crab season is finally here, I'm jumping with joy. I love fresh crab for sandwiches, sautéed with ginger and scallions, in crab cheese puffs and crab foo yung. For the past weeks I have been going to the dock and Wild Planet often to buy live crab. The meat is firm and sweet, a true delight for those of us living by the coast. Here, I'm sharing two of my favorite easy recipes with you. Let's get cracking.
Crab Foo Yung
2 cups fresh cooked crab meat
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups chopped bean spouts
½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 teaspoon minced ginger
½ cup chopped green onion
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Black sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
Blanch the bean sprouts, celery and yellow onion in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain them in a colander and set them aside to cool completely. Then place them in a mixing bowl, adding the crab meat, eggs, ginger, green onion, salt and pepper. Stir and mix well. Heat up a flat bottomed pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, spoon in about 3 heaping tablespoons of crab mixture per patty. Fry only a few patties per batch, leaving at least an inch of space between them. Cook for about 2 minutes until golden, turning halfway through. Add oil to the pan as needed. Serve plain, with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds, topped with gravy or with ketchup, the way my kids like them.
Crab Cheese Puffs
Makes about 24-28 puffs.
For the filling:
2 cups fresh crab meat
1 cup cream cheese at room temperature
¼ cup shredded mozzarella
¼ cup chopped green onion
1 to 2 finely chopped Tien Tsin or Chinese red chilis (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon white pepper
For the wrappers:
1 package wonton wrappers
1 beaten egg for sealing wrappers
6 cups vegetable oil for frying
Using your hands, mix all the filling ingredients together. Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes. Cover a baking sheet with wax paper or sprinkle it with flour. Place 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of each wrapper. Brush the edges of the wrapper with egg and fold it diagonally into a triangle, pinching to seal it tightly. Place the sealed puffs on the baking sheet, leaving space between them.
In a deep pot, heat the oil until a cooking thermometer reads 330 F. Fry a few at a time for less than 1 minute per side until golden and puffy. Remove and let them cool on a wire rack or plate lined with paper towels. Serve with sweet and sour or sweet chili sauce.