Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. And in our house, that means crab cakes. Why? Because you can take the girl out of Maryland, but not the Maryland out of the girl, I guess. But also, because they cover all the bases… they’re quick, easy, delicious and in my humble opinion, as romantic as a main course can get. What’s more is you will be hard pressed to find a tastier entree item in any over-booked and slammed restaurant in town. So why bust the budget on a sub-par, limited-menu, packaged dinner-for-two deal, and fight the crowds, when you can just stay home… get cozy with the one you love… have your cake… and eat it too.
1 pound crab meat
3 tablespoons homemade mayo, recipe below
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 dashes hot sauce (or to taste)
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon coconut flour
1 ¼ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon carrot, very finely diced
1 tablespoon red pepper, very finely diced
2 teaspoons chives, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
Black pepper (to taste)
3 tablespoons avocado oil (plus more if necessary)
Whether using fresh or canned crab meat, pick through the meat, discarding all cartilage and shell pieces. Additionally, if using canned meat, drain well and pat dry with a paper towel. (Too much remaining moisture will prevent cakes from staying together when frying.)
Prepare ingredients. Note: when chopping the carrot and pepper pay close attention to size. Unless these are very finely diced, they will not have adequate time to cook and will remain crunchy.
Add crab meat to a large bowl followed by all other ingredients (except oil). Being careful not to over mix, turn ingredients into meat just until well mixed and pat out into 5 patties.
Add oil to a large frying pan and heat over medium. Once the oil is hot, add the cakes to the pan, allowing them plenty of room in the pan.
It is important to note that since these cakes are gluten free (and missing the glue-like binder of traditional cakes including wheat derived breadcrumbs) and are mostly crab meat, they are going to be delicate. The important thing is making sure they are nicely cooked on the first side before you attempt to flip them (and a smaller spatula helps too). You will know they are ready to turn when there is a nice golden brown edge around the cake, which takes about 6-8 minutes. Carefully flip and cook another 6-8 minutes, or until golden brown color is achieved.
Yield: 5 Crab Cakes
Diet: Gluten Free
1 egg yolk, pasteurized
1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
¾ teaspoon ground mustard
½ teaspoon sea salt, more or less to taste
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
¼ cup avocado oil
Pulse together the yolk, lemon juice, ground mustard and sea salt in a food processor. Very slowly… add in the oil (a few tablespoons at a time) until well emulsified. (Hint: This can also be achieved without a food processor. All you need is a bowl, a whisk, a dream, and plenty of arm power.)
Store remainder in a small glass mason jar in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, and use on everything from sandwiches to baked chicken to add that little pop of wow.
Dave and I were fortunate enough to honeymoon in Italy, and eat our way through Tuscany, Portofino, and Rome. And the first thing we did when we got back to the States was try to recreate the most delectable eggplant dish we had both ever eaten in our lives (while sitting on an outdoor patio with aluminum awning that was only big enough for the two of us). This, my friends, comes pretty darned close. The trick to this recipe (and all simple recipes) is to choose only the highest quality ingredients possible. And, to keep the cheese at a minimum so that the eggplant and olive oil flavors really shine. It’s earthy and nutty and seriously smooth as buttah, baby!
4 small graffiti eggplants, thinly sliced (no more than 3 inches in diameter)
1/4 cup premium extra virgin olive oil (quality counts)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely shredded
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, finely shredded
Sea salt, to taste
Organic extra virgin olive oil nonstick spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat electric griddle or large frying pan to medium heat. Spray with nonstick oil and cook eggplant working in batches. Sprinkle with sea salt and cook for 5-6 minutes. Spray the topside of the eggplant with additional olive oil spray, flip and cook an additional 5-6 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare four oven-safe ramekins with a drizzle of olive oil. Grate cheese using a microplane grater to achieve finest grate possible, and set aside.
Using prongs, layer cooked eggplant into ramekins, spreading to cover the entire diameter. Between each layer of eggplant, alternate Parmesan, mozzarella, a drizzle of olive oil, and repeat until all eggplant is utilized.
Place ramekins on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Using a butter knife, edge each ramekin to release eggplant from the sides. Place a plate on the top of the ramekin and turn it over, allowing the stacker to fall onto the plate. Top with an additional sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and serve.
Yield: 4 Stackers
Diet: Vegetarian, Gluten Free
Recipes by J.C