Don’t know where it came from but I got smacked with a craving for crab cakes. I looked around the internet to get the idea of how to make them and found some inspiration and came up with a vision for how I wanted to make them. Obviously you need a nice sauce for the crab cakes and since this was going to be my dinner, I needed something else make it a well-rounded dish. So I came up with this salad to go with it. Now…I want to be completely honest with you, my crab cakes were a little too wet in my mind. I think its because I kind of made up the measurements as I went along or maybe I made the cakes too big. This will happen sometimes…if I’m making up a recipe, it may not come out perfect the first time. But I don’t want to deter you from trying this out! Just adjust…that’s what makes you a good cook. If you make this and when you go to try and shape the cakes and they seem a little too loose for you, add some more breadcrumbs to try and tighten it up a little more. Also make a mini crab cake as a test before you make the ones your going to eat, if they come out too wet, you can adjust it without messing up the whole batch. Besides that little quip of mine, the flavors are there for sure. The diced apple in the salad and the crunch of the greens and the shaved carrot go really well with the crab cakes and the remoulade. I like the presentation as well, if you make this for a special occasion, it could be a real show-stopper…you might even get lucky…if its that kind of occasion!
1 lb. Good Quality Lump Crabmeat (make sure you dig through it a little and make sure there are no bits of shells hiding in there)
1 Small Red Onion, Diced
1 Red Pepper, Diced
1 Yellow Pepper, Diced
1/4 cup Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley, Finely Chopped
1 Tablespoon of Capers, Drained
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tablespoons Old Bay
About 1 1/2 cup Bread Crumbs
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
2 Large Eggs
Frank’s Red Hot
Remoulade (Recipe Follows)
Arugula Watercress and Shaved Carrot Salad (Recipe Follows)
Salt & Pepper
Get your ingredients prepared (remember, Mise en Place!!)
Take off the head of the red onion but leave the root attached. Slice it down the middle…the lay it flat make nice slices all the way across the onion. Put it in a bowl.
Cut off the top and a little slice of the bottom of the pepper then stand it up and give it one slice down the body. Take your knife and CAREFULLY trim off a thin layer of the inside making sure to take off the ribs and seeds. This makes the pepper easy to make into nice little cubes. If you want, cut the pepper into threes to help make life a little easier. Cut the pepper in to slices, try to make them as even as possible…then turn the strips keeping them lined up…then slice them into little cubes. Repeat with the other pepper. You just bumped your knife skills up about 10 levels!
Put the peppers and onion into a bowl…but keep some of it for plating, the colors will make my white dish pop!
Chop the parsley. You should probably save a tiny bit to sprinkle with the peppers and onions to garnish…such a freak.
Drain and chop the capers. Just throw them in with the peppers and onions (not the ones reserved for garnish!)
You got you things in place now. DO IT!
Heat about 2 tablespoons each of extra virgin olive oil and butter in a small pan on medium-high heat. Add the peppers, onions, capers and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and add the hot sauce, the worcestershire, the old bay toss it to combine and cook till soft, about 10 minutes.
Let that cool down and start to make the crab mixture.
Cover and throw it in the fridge for like 20 minutes. Remember, mine were too wet, if yours comes out the same, add more breadcrumbs.
1 cup Mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon of Capers, Roughly Chopped
1 Shallot, Roughly Chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, Roughly Chopped
4 Baby Cornichons (or 1-2 Big ones, they are just pickles if you don’t know what they are)
1 Lemon, Juiced
½ Cup Flat-Leaf Parsley, Roughly Chopped
½ Chives, Roughly Chopped
Salt & Pepper
I have this 3-in-1 food processor, hand blender and an automatic whisk (which is worthless and I never use). If you have a blender, use that. Prep all the ingredients then add them into the food processor, give it a good zap zap zap! Taste it to check seasoning. If you need to add a little lemon juice, add some. Put it in the fridge and then and let it sit till your ready to plate that goodness.
Chop the chives, parsley and garlic.
Chop the cornichons and capers.
Chop the shallots. I’m going to dice it because my blender isn’t that powerful so I’m trying to help it along, if you have a good blender, just roughly chop.
Through it all in the blender with the lemon juice and the mayo, blend together. Throw it in the fridge.
Arugula, Watercress & Shaved Carrot Salad & Diced Apple w/ a Lemon Vinaigrette
1 Bunch of Baby Arugula
1 Bunch of Watercress
¼ Cup Chopped Flat-Leaf Parsley
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 Fuji Apple (or whatever Apple you want, who cares)
½ Tablespoon of Honey
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
So I always saw Jamie Oliver making vinaigrettes in empty jars because then you can visualize the 3-to-1 Oil-to-vinegar ratio that makes a vinaigrette. Even though I didn’t use vinegar, I though the technique would still work. I tried it here and I was shaking it real hard but it never seemed to emulsify. So I decided to transfer it to a bowl and use a whish to create an emulsion and it worked. Maybe I’ll try it again next time, but I’d suggest using a bowl, adding all the ingredients except the oil. Start whisking and slowly add the oil until you’ve got an emulsion. Readjust the seasoning and you soon will make the most awesome vinaigrettes. But this is how I made this one…
Squeeze about a half the lemon or use the full one if there wasn’t much juice in it. Add the mustard, the honey, salt, pepper and the olive oil. Shake it like a crazy person and try to get the emulsion. If you look closely at the last picture below, you’ll see that it looks kind of broken and when I looked inside, it was too loose when I wanted it to be a little thick. If it sounds like you made the same mistake I did, just pour it in a bowl and use a whisk.
Shave the carrot with a vegetable peeler and dice the apple. Toss with the arugula and watercress and enough of the vinaigrette to coat but don’t leave the salad drowning.
Get your crab cake mixture out of the fridge and heat some butter and olive oil in a non-stick pan on medium heat. Form the mixture into patties and cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side or until they brown nicely.
Start thinking about plating. Grab your remoulade sauce and spoon it on to a plate and spread it into a big circle. Place a crab cake on top of the sauce then gently bunch a handful of the salad on top of the crab cake.
That’s it, serve this up for a date and you’ll blow minds (you may want to perfect your crab cake mixture before actually make this for a date, or you may not blow minds)
As usual, if you make this, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what you think, how it went and what you might do differently. Enjoy!