Crab cakes

Fast food: Tonight, why not try a platter of golden, crusty crab cakes for dinner? (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)

What do you do when confronted with a 1-pound can of ready-to-serve claw crab meat sitting in the refrigerator? Admittedly, it's a rare occurrence — at least at my house.

So, I celebrate with a platter of golden, crusty crab cakes for dinner.

I'm in an Indian mood, so I'll spice these cakes up with curry powder and green chili. On the side: mango chutney or cucumber raita in place of the usual tartar sauce; a lime wedge instead of lemon.

This recipe is built on one published a few years back in The Hartford Courant by Linda Giuca, the former food editor, and Christopher Prosperi, owner of Metro Bis restaurant in Simsbury, Conn. Their crab cakes turn out crisp and light, tasting of crab rather than binder.

Keep the sides simple: Steamed basmati rice and a green salad will do.

Tips: No panko? Use regular bread crumbs. A chilled beer, iced tea or an Austrian gruner veltliner wine would all pair well with this dish.

Curried crab cakes

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes per batch
Servings: 6

Note: You can play with seasonings for the crab cakes. The original recipe called for red onion, celery, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise and Old Bay seasoning.

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons curry powder
4 green onions, minced
1 green chili, such as jalapeno, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 piece (1/2-inch long) ginger root, peeled, minced
1 pound claw crab meat