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During the past two weeks of Lent (if you’re interested, read my Lenten blog here), we’ve gone from cold/snow to 75F/sunny, then back to 40F with nasty freezing rain. While we have about one gray day a year, it’s here as I write today. My good friend Roberta is visiting from the Twin Cities and I know she came for spring sunshine walks with our puppies. Instead she’s practicing her Bach on my piano in the living room and the dogs are in jail with wet feet from their fast foray out into the wetlands.
Even so, I’ve chosen a salad –-albeit a warm one–for Friday Fish and I’m a thief as I’ve stolen the idea for this Friday’s dinner from one of my favorite local restaurants– Marigold’s. Who knows from whence it originally came as there are a bunch of versions on the internet. I don’t have the recipe from Marigold’s and have no idea how they make the salad except that it’s good. My idea for any crab cake is lots of crab, not so much filler and a big lemony punch. Cue this salad I figured out as I went along catch as catch can. Because I had it, I served the salad with a cup of leftover Colcannon Soup from St. Patrick’s Day, along with a wedge of Irish Soda Bread. It’s pretty fine all on its own, though, or just with some biscuits. And butter. Try this:
CRAB CAKES ON FRESH GREENS WITH LEMON VINAIGRETTE
Serves 3-4 for a main course. Serves 6 for a first course.
Crabcakes (Makes 6):
- 1 pound crabmeat–lump or claw-picked over for shells (in a 1# can, already cooked)
- 8 Ritz crackers crushed finely*
- 2 slices baguette crumbs (or other bread)*
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 4 scallions minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill minced
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley minced
- Several drops hot sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil
Mix all ingredients together well; taste and adjust seasoning. Heat butter and oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy skillet. Form crab mixture first into 6 balls, patting together, and then into patties 3-4 inches in diameter. If mixture won’t form balls or patties, let sit a few minutes so that the crumbs absorb the moisture. You can even stick it in the fridge for 15 minutes if needed. Carefully place in pan. Fry on one side 3-5 minutes until very brown; gently turn over and cook other side another few minutes until it, too, is well-browned. Serve hot or warm on greens.
*If you have a food processor, you can throw the bread and crackers into it and process using the steel blade until you have very fine crumbs.
Prepare the greens
- 6-8 cups arugula or other fresh greens
- 3 radishes sliced very thinly
- 4 small tomatoes, quartered
- 2 lemons–1 cut in half and 1 quartered
- 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Spread greens on a large platter and scatter radishes along the perimeter. Add tomatoes and quartered lemon to corners of dish. Season well with salt and pepper. Squeeze 1/2 lemon over all and drizzle with the first two tablespoons olive oil. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more olive oil if necessary.
Put the salad together
Top greens with hot or warm crab cakes. Add a little more lemon juice to each cake. Serve immediately.
Optional Garnish: Dab a teaspoon of mayonnaise on each crab cake and garnish with a bit of chopped parsley, cilantro, dill, or scallions.
Cook’s Note: You can make the crab cakes ahead ( even the night before), cool and chill them, and briefly warm in a buttered skillet before serving the salad.
Sing a new song,
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