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.

Crab and Mascarpone Omelette

crab omlette 
Oh the joy of leftovers!  Trust me, if you had what I had for dinner last night, you would share my passion for this delectable day-after breakfast. 

Total kitchen time: 10 minutes
Makes: 1 rewarded chef (just multiply everything if there are other worthy cooks in the household)

Shopping List:

  • 3 organic eggs
  • 1 pat butter
  • 1 tsp. heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup lump crab meat
  • 2 tbsp. mascarpone cheese
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp. crème fraîche
  • finely diced chives, to garnish
  1. Heat the butter over high heat in a small skillet until foamy. 
  2. Meanwhile, beat together the eggs, heavy cream, salt and pepper.  Whisk the mixture with a fork to incorporate as much air as possible.
  3. Pour the egg mixture in the skillet and swirl it around a bit so it is just ever-so-scrambled.  Now wait.  Don’t do anything for at least 45 seconds.
  4. Using a silicone spatula, scrape around the edges of the pan to loosen the egg from the sides.   Tilt and swirl the pan to allow the runny, uncooked egg on top to drip down underneath the cooked parts.  Do this for about a minute.
  5. Add the mascarpone and crab meat to one side of the pan and cook for another 30 seconds to a minute.  Using your silicone spatula, fold the opposite side of the eggs over the crab bits.  Gracefully slide the whole thing onto a plate.
  6. Top with a dollop of crème fraîche and some chives.

You worked hard last night, picking all that crab.  And, if your guests happen to be joining you for breakfast, they will all appreciate your effort.  Enjoy with a mimosa and a smile.

Savage Crab Orzo ‘N Cheese

savage claw 
Who doesn’t love mac and cheese?  Ok, now what if you added lobster to the mac and cheese – oh that would be delicious.  Wait, what if instead of Velveeta we used Mascarpone?  So awesome.  White mac and cheese with lobster.  Sounds great, but let’s substitute fresh king crab for the lobster because it’s a little more hearty and a third the price.  Cool, I’m with you.  Oh, and let’s also use a tricolor orzo instead of macaroni.  Wait, what?  Yeah, orzo, you know the little pasta nibblets?  But why?  Stop asking questions and take a bite.   

Oh, now I totally get it.  Mmmmm…crab orzo and cheese

Total kitchen time: 1 hr (less if you start with lump crab meat)
Makes: 6 people less crabby, paradoxically

Shopping list:

  • 2 lbs. king crab pieces (claws and legs) OR 1.5 lbs. picked lump crab meat
  • 2 cups orzo
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 cups Mascarpone cheese
  • 3 tbsp. crème fraîche
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 3 tbsp. chives, finely chopped
  1. If you’re starting with crab pieces in the shell, the first (and messiest step) is to remove the meat.  I recommend using a pair of kitchen shears to cut through the shell.  Exercise caution, as crabs are sharp and you’ll likely get frustrated at the little crustaceans’ unwillingness to cooperate.  Break the crab meat up into about 1 inch pieces.  Set aside in the refrigerator.

    Note: unless you are pulling the crabs out of the water yourself, they will
    almost certainly be pre-cooked.  This is because uncooked crab meat has a very short shelf life.  If you are, in fact, starting with raw meat, steam the crabs whole, then pick the meat out yourself.  If, for some bizarre reason, you have a live King crab, you will first need to kill it using any method featured in Starship Troopers.

  2. Cook the orzo until tender in a large pot of boiling water.  Drain thoroughly and return to the pot.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the mascarpone, crème fraîche, white pepper, lemon juice and sea salt in a small saucepan over low heat.  Stir occasionally until the cheese has melted into a smooth white sauce.
  4. Melt the butter in a large non-stick skillet until foamy.  Add the crab and toss to coat in the butter.  You really just want to heat up the crab here, so be brief. 
  5. Plate the orzo, then top with a tablespoon or so of the mascarpone sauce.  Top with a bit of crab meat and garnish with chives.

You have tamed the savage ocean crab.  Now, relish in the delight of victory with another spoonful of cheesy pasta!  May I recommend celebrating with a bottle of Vigonier?