There's something about crab cakes that appeals to kids and adults alike, even those who aren't ordinarily seafood fans. For starters, the golden patties look more like burgers than fish. Plus, their mild, lightly fried flavor is downright delicious. This recipe is filled with fun tasks for young chefs: cubing fresh bread, flaking crabmeat, shaping the cakes, and whisking up a sassy seafood sauce.
Trim the crusts from the bread. Stack several slices at a time and cut them into strips. Cut the strips into small cubes (altogether, you'll need 2 1/2 cups of bread cubes). Put 1 1/2 cups of the cubes into a large mixing bowl and set aside the rest.
Add the scallions, red bell pepper, parsley, dill, and crabmeat to the bowl. Use your hands to break up any lumps of crab, then toss the mixture until the ingredients are well combined.
In a small mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, seafood seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, and salt. Whisk well to blend. Pour the sauce over the crab mixture, then stir with a wooden spoon until the new mixture clumps together.
Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Using your hands, shape the mixture into 6 large or 8 slightly smaller balls. Roll them in the reserved fresh bread cubes to coat and then place them atop the baking sheet. Flatten the balls slightly to form patties not quite 1 inch thick. Cover them with another piece of plastic wrap and chill them for 1 to 2 hours before frying.
When you're ready to fry the crab cakes, heat the oven to 300º F and spread the dry bread crumbs on a plate. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium-size skillet over medium heat. Working quickly so the butter doesn't burn, dredge half of the patties in the dry bread crumbs and fry them for about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer the fried crab cakes to a baking pan and keep them in the warmed oven while you fry the second batch.
Wipe out the pan with wadded paper towels (a parent's job) and then melt the other tablespoon of butter in it. Dredge and fry the remaining patties as before. Serve the crab cakes plain or on a lightly toasted roll with a slice of tomato, lettuce, and seafood sauceServes 4 to 6.