Monday, March 26, 2012


Okay, so I have to admit that the dollop of guacamole is "store bought", but I've made it from scratch in the past.  However, not today.  But, everything else is from scratch.  Let's start with the tomato confit, which takes the longest amount of time to prepare.

5 plum tomatoes
4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme
6 garlic cloves, minced
Olive oil -- about 2 tablespoons

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Boil a pan of water.  Additionally, have a bowl of ice water on the counter. As the water is boiling, core the tomatoes, and make an "X" shape in the bottom of each tomato.  Submerge the tomatoes into the pan of boiling water.  After about two minutes, remove tomatoes and purge into the bowl of ice water.  After about a minute or two, remove tomatoes from ice water and peel away the skins (and any leftover seeds/membrane).

Drizzle olive oil on a sheet pan (lined with foil or parchment), then place the tomatoes on pan.  Top tomatoes with sprigs of thyme and minced garlic.  Put tray in oven and every 30 minutes, turn the tomatoes.  This would take about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  The tomatoes need to dry out and have all of their flavors  concentrate to form a confit, which is, by far, much better than any sun-dried stuff that tastes like plastic (or rubber) bought at the market. Let's get back on track here.....

This has to be my favorite crab cake recipe and my friends agree, as well.  We're not doing the typical Maryland Old Bay seasoning stuff here.  We're doing a spin on crab cakes from the Pacific Northwest from Cory Schreiber's Wildwood restaurant in Portland, Oregon.   We have his cookbook, Wildwood Cooking from the Source in the Pacific Northwest. Also, we've been to the restaurant in Portland several times

I believe that the "wrapped potatoes" give this dish a unique edge more than any other crab cake recipe that I have had (or seen).  The crab cakes could be served as hors d'oeuvre or made with a poached egg for breakfast, which I particularly like due to the potato wrap. You be the judge.

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
2 shallots, minced
1/2 cup panko (or breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (freshly grated)
2 oz. lemon juice
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, preferably Harvest Coarse Ground
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped fresh flat-leaf
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 # fresh lump crabmeat
1 russet potato, peeled, cut into strings on a Japanese turning slicer, and soaked in water

Let's form the crab cakes:  In a small skillet, melt the butter over low heat.  Add shallots and cook until translucent.  In a large bowl, combine the shallots, panko, cheese, lemon juice, mayonnaise, egg, mustard, bell pepper, parsley and cayenne.  Gently mix the crabmeat into the mixture.  Divide the mixture into 12 (or 24) equal portions and form into balls.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt the water and blanch the potato strings for 2 minutes.  Transfer to an ice-water bath.  Set aside.

To Finalize the Crab Cakes:  In a bowl, beat an egg until blended.  Put the flour and potato strings in 2 separate bowls.  Remove crab balls from fridge.  Flatten each ball to make a 3/4 inch cake.  Dip each crab cake in flour, then eggs.  Pack a layer of potato strings around each cake.

In a skillet, heat about 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat.  Cook the crab cakes, until golden on each side.

Serve crab cake on top of tomato confit, then top with a dollop of guacamole.

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