My Favorite Crab Cake

Crab cakes are a crowd favorite. I have eaten allot of crab cakes over the years, and I have made 100 times more. When it comes to crab cakes I serve to my family and friends the rule is that it is all about the crab, keep it simple. A few simple tips;
– When it comes to breading/binder I use the least amount possible to get it to just hold together
– Make the mix, form into cakes on parchment lined sheet pan, refrigerate for at least 20 minutes prior to cooking to firm up
– Dust the outside lightly with breading just before pan frying
– Pan fry in clarified butter, add whole butter on the flip and baste
– My favorite breading is crushed Ritz crackers (add a buttery taste and good binding), next is panko (good crunch on exterior when pan fried, have to let sit in fridge prior to cooking, otherwise will be crunchy on inside as well), homemade brioche breadcrumbs (really buttery but more soft pudding like texture when mixed as opposed to Ritz which stay granular), white bread panade, bread cubes soaked in milk and mashed (this is the most neutral and old school way, similar to Devil crab or old Imperial recipes
– I like Old Bay, in moderation, depending on the type of crab, for example I use less in a cake of our super lump than I do in one with our claw meat
– Our crab is already 100% cooked, do not overcook your crab cakes, especially if oven baking
– Everyone loves a good sauce, and they are simple to make with stuff in the fridge, even as simple as a 50/50 mayo/mustard “Dijonaise”
– Use your hands to mix it, especially if using Super or Jumbo lump, it is allot of work, and money, for those big pieces of crab, keep them whole!
– If cooking for a crowd, a cheap electric griddle does an amazing job on a dozen+ cakes at a time, add are nonstick
– Left over crab meat, yes it does happen, make it into a cake and freeze, as opposed to freezing the crab plain

– Chef John

Butter Poached Lobster, Creamy Polenta, Creole Crab Sauce

Butter poached lobster has to be one of the greatest foods on earth and to me is essential for a Holiday feast. The inspiration for this dish is the classic low-country dish of shrimp and grits, except with a more international flair. Replacing the grits, traditionally made of ground hominy, with Italian polenta, made of course ground corn meal. The sauce is a classic Creole sauce of the holy trinity, the Creole version of mirepoix (peppers, onions and celery as opposed to carrots, celery and onion), with fresh tomatoes, Creole spices and of course our delicious crabmeat to guild the lily.

Haddock en Papillote with a Crab Salsa Verde

For this dish I am utilizing the classic French technique of steaming fish, or other items, enclosed in a paper packet. For this recipe I am using a filet of local haddock, a sustainable member of the cod family, with mild firm flesh and a moist texture. The fish is set on a bed of thinly sliced Winter citrus, shaved fennel and julienned leeks, then tightly sealed in parchment. These can be made ahead and should be cooked just before serving and cut open tableside for a dramatic presentation. TO add an extra layer of flavor, dimension and color I added a classic Italian Salsa Verde, a puree EVOO with fresh herbs, anchovies, capers and garlic, with the addition of some of delicious crabmeat to make it extra special and even more delicious. We hope you enjoy.

Fettuccini with Crab Caponata and Anchovy-Garlic Breadcrumbs

Caponata is a classic Sicilian antipasto relish dating baked to 1709 which is thought to be of Spanish origins. Caponata is basically a sweet and sour version of the classic French dish ratatouille. The combination of roasted eggplant, fresh tomatoes, red onion and garlic. The flavors are amplified with the sweet and sour flavors of green olives, Sweet golden raisins and bitter capers. I played on the Sicilian tradition of adding seafood to the caponata, sometimes using octopus, lobster, swordfish or even grated dried tuna. For our recipes we are adding our delicious crabmeat, whose sweet, delicate flavors will pair perfectly with the earthy, sweet and sour flavors of the caponata. The addition of toasted breadcrumbs with anchovy paste and garlic add both crunch and an umami punch to the dish. I hope you enjoy.

Oyster Rockefeller Soup with Crispy Crab & Bacon Croquette

Oysters Rockefeller are a classic American dish, first served in 1889 at the famed Antoine’s in New Orleans, and one of my favorites. I have taken all the flavors of the classic dish, reworked them, added some crab, did a little deep frying and pureeing and voila, Oyster Rockefeller soup with a crispy (and creamy) crab & bacon croquette.

Prosciutto wrapped Crab stuffed Shrimp

Jumbo shrimp, which are split and stuffed with a creamy crab stuffing, wrapped in prosciutto and sautéed until crispy on the outside and filled with delicious creamy crab and perfectly cooked shrimp. These are perfect as an appetizer, entrée or to elevate your surf & turf. For a season theme I placed them with on a bed of butternut squash “noodles” with Fuji apples sautéed in brown butter with sage and basil.

Crab Waffle Benedict

There have been some interesting food trends during the whole quarantine. One of the recent ones has been  using a waffle maker  everything from a ham and cheese sandwich to cinnamon rolls. It just makes sense to cook a crab cake in a waffle maker for a crab eggs benedict. So here you go Ernesto.

Crab Fries with Chorizo, Beer & Cheese Sauce

Crab fries these are definitely one of the hot menu items of the moment. Some have actual crab, some just the essence of crab (like some Old Bay seasoning). Well I learned years ago at my restaurant, Taste, that when the menu says “crab fries” people are expecting some crab meat (otherwise call them Old Bay fries, IMO). Well these are fully loaded with crab, an IPA spiked beer-cheese sauce, some chorizo and some extra Cheddar and scallions for good measure.