Artichoke Crab Cakes

Artichoke Crab Cakes Recipe

Whenever I see fresh crab available at the market, I buy a few, boil or sauté them and reserve at least one for cracking later to make another dish the following day. This is exactly what we did and this time I made crab cakes. I flavored the crab with capers, tarragon, chives and marinated artichoke hearts. My tip is to chill the crab cakes for a few minutes before cooking them to help them hold their shape. 

I served the crab cakes with twice-baked potatoes and grilled asparagus on a bed of homemade hollandaise sauce. I wanted to serve the crab cakes warm, so little Aria and I dug in immediately after the meal was ready and I took photos afterwards. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to capture the beautiful crab cakes with the hollandaise sauce as reheating it caused curdling. So even though the sauce isn't pictured, give some extra time to preparing it because the results are well worth it for a perfect weeknight meal! 

Ingredients

Yields: 6 servings

1 whole fresh crab (or store-bought already cooked, cleaned and cracked crabs)
2 tablespoons store-bought prepared horseradish
½ (6-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dill pickles (or relish), finely chopped
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh dill
½ teaspoon paprika, extra for garnish
2 tablespoons cup fresh chives, finely snipped
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 slices brioche, crustless and chopped
juice of half a lemon
½ teaspoon white pepper, freshly cracked
1½ teaspoons salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
5 tablespoons vegetable oil, as needed

Directions

Prepping the crab:

Clean the crab, brush and rinse thoroughly. Place in a pot, add about 1½ to 2 cups of water and boil for about 10 minutes (see tips). Transfer to an ice water bath for about 3 minutes to stop the cooking process. Drain and discard all the liquid.

Remove and discard the abdominal flaps (the triangle-shaped tail). Lift and separate the back-fin with the rest of the claws by placing a large tablespoon at the bottom of the crab. Remove and discard the "lungs" (also known as Devil's fingers; they have a spongy texture and are inedible).

Gently remove the crab meat from the back-fins (the inner chambers are filled with meat) by "shaking" the crab. Note: Maman just sent me this cool link and it's a lot faster to gather the crab meat!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Eal-GfJ1_U

Gather all the crab meat in a large mixing bowl, reserving the red pieces for garnish. Add lemon juice. Toss well.

Making the crab cake mixture:

Place the brioche pieces in a food processor. Mix well. Add the artichokes and pulse a few times. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the crab and eggs; mix well. Add the capers, pickles, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, cayenne pepper, chives, dill, tarragon, salt and pepper.

Note: Check the seasoning of the crab mixture: In a small pan, heat about 1 teaspoon of canola oil. Add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the crab cake mixture. Cook for about 2 minutes. Taste the crab and adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper if necessary. Set aside.


Assembly:

Preheat the oven to the lowest setting (about  200°F).

Heat a non-stick skillet. Add oil. Once the oil is hot, lower the heat. Place a 2¾" metal circle cutter onto the skillet. Fill the circle cutter with the crab mixture and make sure it's tightly packed. Delicately remove the circle cutter and repeat the same procedure until they're all formed. Once one side is cooked (about 2-3 minutes), flip to the other side and continue cooking until lightly golden. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

PLace the crab cakes in the oven for 5-10 minutes at 200°F (to keep them warm) until ready to serve.

Transfer the crab cakes onto a serving platter. Garnish with dill. 

On the serving plate, drizzle hollandaise sauce (recipe follows) and top with the crab cake.

Serve warm.

Bon appétit!


Tips

For the crab cooking time, count approximately 8 minutes per pound.

As my friend Carole would say, "there’s also the possibility of buying already cooked whole crabs from a supermarket or fish market, where they’ll usually clean and crack them for you." But I had spare time and  little Aria also enjoyed freshly-cracked crab dipped in lemon juice and white pepper.

Crab Recipe with Picture

I strongly recommend Bourbon Barrel Worcestershire sauce. It's absolutely delicious!

Reminder on how to make hollandaise sauce: First make sure you use pasteurized eggs to be safe. Beat 2 egg yolks in a stainless-steel mixing bowl. Add 1 teaspoon white vinegar (if used). Place the bowl on a double boiler. Drizzle about 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Slowly increase the speed of the mixer and add 4 tablespoons diced, cold butter. After a total of about 7-8 minutes, the sauce should be creamy and warm. Add 1 teaspoon horseradish. To check the consistency of the sauce, coat the back of a spoon with the sauce. Run your finger down the back of the spoon. If the line you created with your finger remains, the sauce is ready. Note: There's no way you can mess up the Hollandaise sauce if you use a thermometer. Check the temperature of the water in the double boiler; it should register 140°F.

I was too lazy this time but when we have a dinner party, I usually place the ready-made sauce in a thermos until ready to serve. If the Hollandaise sauce breaks (if the eggs have curdled), just let the sauce cool to room temperature, add a little cold water and whisk the sauce  over a double-boiler until smooth while warming it.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on January 27, 2015.


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