Crab Cakes Rockefeller

crabcake rockefeller 
Why should oysters have all the fun?  After all, crabs are bigger, meatier and more vicious (making our conquest over them all the more victorious!)  And, I’ll unapologetically claim that this recipe is “healthy” since the crab cakes are baked, not fried, and spinach counts as a green vegetable. 

Total kitchen time: 1 hour
Makes: about 6 jumbo crab cakes

Shopping list:

  • 1 lb lump crab claw meat (I love the canned stuff at Trader Joe’s – you can’t beat the price)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 4 green onions, finely diced
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (Panko works great too)
  • 4 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 slices bacon or prosciutto
  • 4 cups (uncooked) baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup watercress stems
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • good salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • olive oil (in a sprayer, if you’ve got one)
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F and set the top rack to the middle position (BTW, this recipe is a great toaster oven candidate).  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or a nonstick cooking mat.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the crab meat, diced red bell pepper, half of the diced green onion (reserving the other half) and half of the bread crumbs (reserving the other half).  Mix in the honey and chili powder, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. I like to form my crab cakes by pressing them into a 1/2 cup measure, squeezing tightly so they’ll hold their shape.  You can mould them with your hands as well, but be sure to press them together tightly or they might fall apart in transit to the plates.  Arrange the crab cakes on the lined baking sheet, leaving at least 1” between each crab cake.
  4. Using your olive oil sprayer (if you have one; or by drizzling olive oil) lightly coat the outside of each crab cake.  This will help with browning and to form an outer crust.  Bake at 375°F for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  5. Meanwhile, fry the bacon or prosciutto in a large skillet until crispy.  Set aside to drain, then crumble into small pieces using a sharp knife.
  6. Finely chop the spinach and watercress stems.  In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute.  Then, add the remaining green onion, bread crumbs and watercress stems.  Sauté 1 minute more.  Finally, add the chopped spinach and cook until wilted, 1-2 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. To serve, plate a crab cake atop a smear of the spinach mixture, then sprinkle the whole plate with crumbled bacon.

Review (Lark); //Small Plates, big flavor

lark collage

Usually when I threaten to order half the menu at a restaurant, I’m joking.  But at Lark, I was quite serious.  Located on an easy-to-miss block of Capitol Hill, this gem specializes in intricate, small plates with bold flavors and surprising combinations.  For example, the roasted eel with saba and new potato salad ($12, pictured above, left) paired a predictably sweet and sticky eel fillet with a most unlikely and delicate (you guessed it) potato salad.  This was one of my favorite dishes – my only regret was sharing it with three other people. 

Lark’s menu is designed for family-style ordering, but with more than 2 people at your table, each plate portions out to an amuse-bouche or so.  As a result, we nearly ended up ordering most of the menu!  Every dish was delectable and I appreciated the variety of our dinner, but I couldn’t help feeling unsatiated.  I respect the “small bites” philosophy and I enjoy that manner of eating, but with flavors so compelling, there was a discord between my stomach and my wallet.

Even so, I would recommend Lark for foodies and adventurous eaters. Of particular note were the Carpaccio of Yellowtail with preserved lemons and green olives ($15, pictured top right), the Crispy Liberty Farm duck leg with watercress and pomegranate salad ($11, pictured middle right), and the Valrhona chocolate hazelnut mousse with cocoa ladyfingers and candied hazelnut ($8, pictured bottom right).  You may want to consider ordering two of each!

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