This recipe pairs well with Roederer Estate, Anderson Valley Brut sparkling wine for a Valentine's day treat for two.
Yields about 4 cakes
1 tbsp. butter (You may substitute olive oil.)
4 shallots, minced
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 fuji apple, peeled and grated on a cheese grater, juice reserved
1 tsp. lemon juice, fresh
2 tsp. tarragon, minced
2 tbsp. parsley, minced
1 cup Dungeness crab meat, picked free of shells
¼ cup breadcrumbs, finely ground
cooking oil (rice bran, canola, vegetable, etc.)
metal heart shaped cookie cutter, large size (About 4-6 oz)
Roast Pepper Sauce:
8 oz. pimento peppers in the jar (You may substitute with Spanish piquillo peppers,
or 3 each red bell peppers roasted over an open flame, peeled and seeded), chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 tbsp. sherry vinegar (You may substitute with any vinegar)
2 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. butter (Optional)
In a sauté pan, sweat the shallots in butter over medium-low heat until sweet, but with no color forming. This will take about 5 minutes. When sweet, allow the shallots to cool in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the mayonnaise, grated apple with juice, lemon juice, herbs, and picked crab to the mixing bowl.
With a spatula, gently fold the mixture together, so as not to break up any whole crab meat. This will give the cakes a better texture. Fold the mixture just until evenly mixed. Add enough breadcrumbs to bind the cakes. You might need more or less breadcrumbs than stated,
depending on the moisture of the crab. Season the cakes with salt and Tabasco to taste. Using a teaspoon, spoon crab mixture into a metal, heart-shaped cookie cutter. Gently press the crab into the mold. Repeat this process until all cakes are molded. Keep the crab cakes refrigerated until ready for service. Prepare the sauce.
To prepare the sauce, place the prepared peppers into a small non-reactive sauce pan with the vinegar and water. Bring contents to a simmer and transfer to a bar blender. Add the butter to the blender, cover and puree the sauce until it is smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
To finish the crab cake, heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add a teaspoon of cooking oil, and sear the crab cake over medium heat until golden brown. This will take 1-2 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the crab cake over and repeat for 1-2 minutes until the crab cake is golden brown on both sides and warm in the center. Piercing the center of the crab cake with a toothpick and feeling the temperature of the toothpick under your lip will give you a good idea how warm
the cake's center is.
To plate the crab cake, pour about two heaping spoonfuls of warm pepper sauce over a warmed plate. Place the warm crab cake over the sauce and garnish with baby mixed greens (mâche, upland cress) and/or freshly picked herbs (Italian parsley, chervil, tarragon, chives…). Enjoy!