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Crab cake bites and bacon fried pecans: Two do-ahead appetizers

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Crab cake bites
Makes 24 crab cakes 

For the crab cakes:

2 eggs

1 pound lump crabmeat (see note)

2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 tablespoon finely chopped flat leaf parsley

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

1. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Pick over the crabmeat to make sure there are no pieces of shell, then add the crab to the eggs. Add the melted butter, mayonnaise and parsley and fold together gently. You want everything well combined but try not to break up the crabmeat.

2. Mix the breadcrumbs, baking powder, Old Bay, and mustard powder together in a small bowl. Add to the crab mixture and gently fold through. Again, you want everything combined, but don’t break up the crabmeat. Refrigerate the mixture for at least an hour, but several is fine. This binds the mixture together and makes it easier to fill the tins.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 24 mini-muffin cups well with nonstick cooking spray. Fill each cup with crab cake mixture, pressing it in to fill it well. Press a rounded teaspoon down in the middle of each cake to make a little well in the center (this will keep them from mounding up and create a nice flat surface for the tartar sauce). You can cover the tins with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for several hours at this point.

Bake the crab cakes for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown, then cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Use a knife to loosen the cakes and remove them from the pan. Spoon a little tartar sauce on top of each cake and serve immediately, though these taste lovely at room temperature.

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