Thursday, February 20, 2014

Maryland Crab Cake Salad

Maryland Crab Cake Salad
When I am in a great restaurant, I am always tempted to get the crab cakes.  Every time. So I think it's fair to say I've eaten a lot of crab cakes in my time.  I have been testing recipes and sampling crab cakes in restaurants for years and finally developed this recipe that is my favorite.  Since we are living in Maryland, I try to serve Maryland Crab Cakes to our out of town guests.  I recently served these to our friend George Hamilton, who was visiting us here in Maryland.  George told me he's eaten crab cakes all around the world and that mine were the best he's ever tasted!   I'm sure he was just being polite, but what a nice compliment!   Hope you enjoy these as much as George!     

Crab cakes:

1 lb. fresh lump crab meat (preferably Maryland crab, of course!)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 small head shallots, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
coarse salt and fresh ground pepper         
pinch paprika
pinch cayenne pepper
1 ½ cups fine Italian bread crumbs

In medium bowl gently mix crab meat with mayonnaise, shallots, mustard and salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne pepper.  In another bowl pour the breadcrumbs.   With hands, form crab cakes that are 3-4 inches across and 1 inch thick.  Set in bread crumbs and cover with crumbs. In heavy nonstick skillet, melt some butter and fry crab cakes until golden browned on both sides. Use two small spatulas and carefully turn cakes over to brown both sides.  If one breaks apart, reshape and set in breadcrumbs again and brown in butter. Toss lettuce, spinach or kale and some favorite seasonal vegetables with a little Balsamic Glaze.  Arrange bed of lettuces on a platter and lay crab cakes on top.  Drizzle crab cakes with Avocado Dressing.

Balsamic Glaze:

4 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine vinegar, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Whisk in olive oil until glaze has emulsified.  Divide glaze in half.  Toss vegetables with half of the glaze and reserve the remaining glaze for drizzling over finished entree. 

Avocado Dijon Dressing:

just under 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1 avocado
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup canola oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
salt and pepper to taste

In food processor, puree all ingredients until smooth.  Add more oil and vinegar if necessary to reach desired consistency. Pour desired amount over crab cakes and lettuces.  Garnish with some chopped red or yellow bell peppers.

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