Crab Cakes

1 teaspoon finely chopped capers
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon creole mustard
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon minced green bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced yellow bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced red onion
1 tablespoon panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs, available in the specialty department of most grocery stores)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon creole seasoning such as Zatarain’s
1 pound fresh jumbo lump crabmeat, cleaned

Put capers, mayonnaise, creole mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire, and horseradish in a medium mixing bowl and combine thoroughly. Add the other ingredients (except crabmeat) to the bowl and mix well. Gently fold in crabmeat, being careful not to break up the lumps.

Chardonnay Cream Sauce

1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
1 bay leaf
2 cups dry Chardonnay
1/2 pound dressed crabmeat, mashed with a spoon
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon sour cream

Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. When foam subsides, add onion and bay leaf, then cook, stirring continuously, until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.

Add wine and crabmeat and reduce volume by half. Add heavy cream and reduce by half again. Allow about an hour for the two reductions. Consistency should be that of a typical sauce, neither thick nor thin. Add salt and pepper. Strain sauce through a sieve, then stir in sour cream. Transfer to a blender and pulse 2 or 3 times, to give it a bit of froth. (Note: Recipe makes a generous amount.)

Assembly and Cooking

2 tablespoons grape-seed oil (canola may be substituted)
panko bread crumbs (for dusting crab cakes)
1 tablespoon or more minced green bell pepper (for garnish)
1 tablespoon or more minced yellow bell pepper (for garnish)
3 small sprigs cilantro (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Divide crab mixture into 3 equal portions and firmly but carefully pack into 3 stainless steel ring molds. The molds should be 3 inches in diameter by 1 1/2 inches tall; the mixture should completely fill them. Dust both ends of the crab cakes well with bread crumbs.

Heat oil over medium heat in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet. When oil is hot, lift each crab-filled mold with a spatula and place in skillet. Let brown on first side for 2 minutes, then turn molds over and place skillet in oven for 6 to 8 minutes.

To serve, ladle a thin layer of Chardonnay cream sauce evenly onto 3 plates. Put a ring mold on top of the sauce on each plate and carefully remove mold. Garnish plates with chopped bell peppers and put a sprig of cilantro on top of each crab cake. Serves 3.