This will not be the quickest recipe, but this may well be the best crab cake recipe you find.
There are lots of items to make ahead, but it's worth it.
Tear out center of stale French bread and place pieces in food processor. Pulse until you have fluffy, pea-sized pieces.
Toss 1 cup fresh bread crumbs (see above) with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt. Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees until crisp and golden, 12-15 minutes.
Peel and cut 1 large potato. Place in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil. Cook potato until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and return to pot. Let steam until dry. Beat in 1 tablespoon butter and a little milk until potatoes are fluffy. Season with salt and pepper and cool.
The Crab Cakes!
Still with me? Now we get to the fun part!
- Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Saute the onion and celery until tender, about 10 minutes (do not let brown). Season with salt, remove from heat and let cool completely. Meanwhile, combine the crabmeat, fresh bread crumbs, mashed potatoes, mustard, mayonnaise, chives, tarragon, cayenne and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Mix gently with a fork to keep the mixture fluffy with big flakes of crabmeat intact. Carefully stir in the cooled onion mixture and taste. Add lemon juice, cayenne or salt to suit your taste.
- To form the cakes, spread the toasted breadcrumbs on a plate. Use a 1/4 cup measure to scoop out the crab mixture and drop into the crumbs. Coat each side lightly, patting the crumbs on, and form a compact cake about 3/4 inch thick. You should be able to form 8 crabcakes. At this point, you can refrigerate the cakes until just before ready to cook and serve.
- When ready to serve, heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Place cakes in the pan and cook on one side until a golden crust forms, about 3 minutes. Turn cakes over and repeat process, about 3 more minutes. Remove the cakes from the pan.
- To serve, place the crab cakes on individual plates with a dollop of spicy mayonnaise and a sprinkling of arugula leaves.