Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dungeness Crab Cake Salad with Lemon Tarragon Mayo

Not the most practical post for my readers at large, but for Cali residents, Dungeness crab is a winter delicacy and readily available sometimes for less/lb than regularly price boneless skinless chicken breasts.  So, take this recipe and feel free to substitute raw chopped shrimp, any white fish or canned salmon then bread and fry as directed.

We were headed to Half Moon Bay for a day of tide pool viewing and since no day trip is complete for us if we don't have some kind of food adventure, our first stop was the docks to get crabs freshly caught and very much still alive.

Since kids and dogs are natural community builders, Harry found a sweet Irish couple while walking the dog and they pointed us to the best place for buying crab.  "Go to the Blue sign - Manuel is the best".  So to Manuel we went (pictured above), had a chat with the sweet Portuguese couple (Manuel and his wife Maggie) and purchased two big guys.

El, my youngest son loves the idea of the crab, but really nothing else so his contribution was to pay for and carry the crab to the iced cooler.  He has a personal vendetta because his first encounter with one was having his finger firmly grasped by a front claw.  He continues to proclaim "I got revenge and I ate that claw!" when we talk about eating crab.

Harry on the other hand, loves the cleaning part which baffles me since I can hardly stand to see him do it much less do it. I know for an avid cook and would-be-in-another-life restaurant chef, that's pretty pathetic. I certainly would "man-up" and do it, but as long as he's here, I hate to steal the glory from my son.  (That's just the kind of Mom I am.)

I do like picking the crab, though.  It's time consuming and messy, but for some reason, it's rewarding to break the claws and body cavities (sorry to those who are squeamish or vegetarian) and find the big stuff then have the challenge of getting the last bits out.  Since I knew our guests for the afternoon were a bit averse to picking crab and preferred to simply eat it, we decided to pick it all and make crab cakes.

There's really no recipe here to speak of, but I'll give it a shot:


CWYG Stats
Veggie Box and Seasonal Veggies - Radishes, potatoes, mixed greens

Pantry Items - eggs, shallots, lemons, olive oil, panko crumbs, tarragon, mayo, olives

Dungeness Crab Cakes with Lemon Mayo

4 cups picked crab (or alternatives listed above)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 finely chopped shallot or grated onion
1 tsp salt
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup chopped green onion
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
To serve:
Lemon Tarragon Mayo (below)
Mixed Greens
Hard Boiled Eggs
Cleaned and stemmed radishes
Boiled potatoes, optional
Mixed olives

Mix crab, eggs, onion, salt, lemon zest and green onions.  Let sit in fridge for 30 minutes to a couple of hours.  Form into tennis ball size mounds, flatten slightly and coat with panko.  Set back in fridge for 15-20 minutes while you prepare Mayo, salad and heat the oil.

Fry in about 1/2" of oil until both sides are golden brown and they are cooked through. Replenish oil as needed.  Keep warm then serve on top of greens surrounded by the eggs, radishes, olives and potatoes.  Drizzle everything with some of the Mayo, then pass the rest.

Lemon Tarragon Mayo

1 cup mayonnaise (preferably olive or grapeseed based)
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about one lemon)
1 tsp dried tarragon
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Mix mayo, shallot, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and tarragon in a large bowl.  Slowly whisk in olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Thin to a drizzling consistency with a little warm water.

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