Nightmarish triplets no doubt conceived by Food Networkpesto, quiche, then crab cakes.

CRAB CAKES WITH CITRUS BEURRE NANTAIS

2 lbs high quality crabmeat (Maryland, Peekytoe, Dungeness)

2 T unsalted butter
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 small to medium red onion, peeled and finely diced
2 fresh, plump garlic cloves, peeled and finely diced
1-2 jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and finely diced

2 large eggs
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1 t paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
3 T Dijon mustard
1/4 C crème fraîche or sour cream
2+ T all purpose flour, sifted
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 T unsalted butter
2 T extra virgin olive oil

Place the crabmeat in a strainer to remove any excess liquid. Allow to drain for several minutes, then transfer the crabmeat to a large bowl. Pick over the crabmeat to remove any bits of shell and cartilage, being careful not to break up the lumps of crab.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium high and cook the onion, garlic and jalapeños until the onion is softened and translucent. Transfer to bowl, set aside, and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together first the eggs, then Worcestershire, paprika, cayenne, mustard, and crème fraîche until well combined. Then, stir in the cooled onion mixture. Add the crabmeat, and 2 tablespoons of the flour, gently fold to combine, and season with salt and pepper. If the mixture appears too wet, loose and liquid like, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time. Refrigerate, covered for at least 2 hours, even overnight.

Divide the chilled crab mixture into 8 patties about 1/2-inch thick.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large, heavy nonstick pan over medium high heat and sauté the cakes until crusty and lightly browned, about 3 minutes per side.

CITRUS BEURRE NANTAIS

1 C dry Riesling, Vouvray, or Sancerre wine
2 T lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 T ginger, peeled and finely minced
1 C heavy whipping cream

1/2 T sugar
1/4 C fresh grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 C lime juice, freshly squeezed

12 T unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), chilled and cut into small cubes.
Sea salt, to taste
White pepper, to taste

In a sauce pan, combine the wine, lemon juice, and ginger. Reduce until about approximately 3 tablespoons of liquid remains. Add the heavy cream and gently reduce by half.

Meanwhile, in a separate sauce pan, reduce the sugar, grapefruit juice, and lime juice together until thick and syrupy. Whisk into the reduced cream mixture.

With a wire whisk or an immersion blender, purée the “sauce” while slowly adding the butter a few cubes at a time until all of the butter is incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper and drizzle over crab cakes.

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A Cupboard Not Bare

January 19, 2009

Even the most resourceful housewife cannot create miracles from a riceless pantry.
~Chinese proverb

Before traipsing into the kitchen or addressing the grill, some thought needs to be given to the provisions on hand. Not only would it be unrealistic to expect all ingredients to be locally fresh throughout the year, but the time constraints of daily life often demand an impromptu table. Having a well supplied (and periodically restocked) pantry is simply essential for home cooks to produce remarkable meals without a last minute forage at the neighborhood market. Some cupboard items can even prove superior to the fresh versions in certain seasons or preparations while others only come in pantry form.

The list below is not exhaustive, but is intended to be fairly comprehensive for the lay cook. Of course, you will tailor your pantry to suit your palate and home cuisine. However, before you reject this list due to storage size restrictions alone, please keep in mind that almost all of these items are carefully housed in the cabinets of our minimalist urban kitchen with a small frig.

Oils –- extra virgin olive, canola, peanut, grapeseed, vegetable, white truffle, avocado, walnut, sesame

Vinegars — red wine, balsamic, champagne, apple cider, sherry, port, rice wine

Spices & Herbs — black peppercorns, white pepper, green peppercorns, pink peppercorns, mixed peppercorns, cayenne pepper, salt (sea, gray, kosher), herbes de provence, fine herbes, ras el hanout, za’atar, sage, thyme, rosemary, oregano, bay leaves, tarragon, fennel seeds, fennel pollen, savory, celery seed, mustard, turmeric, cardamom, paprika, pimentón, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, caraway seeds, curry powder (homemade) & curry paste, fenugreek leaves, garam masala, caraway seeds, nutmeg, cinnamon (sticks/ground), chipotle chile powder, ancho chile powder, star anise, sesame seeds (black, white), allspice, anise seeds, saffron threads, wasabi powder, rubs (i.e., asian, ancho chili, dried mushroom, rosemary & pepper, tandoori, basic barbeque), local hot sauce(s), barbeque (preferably near home) sauces

Grains & Pastas — rice (white long grained, wild, brown, jasmine, basmati), polenta, risotto, pastas (potentials: taglilatelle, linguini, spaghetti, penne, lasagne, orzo, tortellini, orcchietta, capellini, farfalle, capaletti, cavatappi, cavatelli, fusilli, gnocchi, macaroni, papparadelle, ravioli, vermicelli), couscous, Israeli couscous, rice (cellophane) noodles (vermicelli–bun & sticks–banh pho)

Asian –- soy sauce, shoyu, white shoyu, hoisin sauce, chili garlic sauce/paste, sriracha, nuoc mam nhi(fish sauce), nuoc mam chay pha san, hoisin sauce, red, yellow & green curry pastes, mirin, sake, coconut milk, miso pastes (white, red), oyster sauce, wasabi paste/powder, five spice, tamarind paste, mirin, rice flour, panko bread crumbs, kochujang, gochu garu, konbu

Garlic, shallots, ginger, potatoes, yellow & red onions, dried chiles

Mustards, chutneys, capers, sun dried tomatoes, anchovies, tomato paste, harissa, tahini, creme fraiche, pickles

Canned tomatoes (san marzano + homemade), stock (homemade/canned)

Legumes –- lentils (several colors + lentils du puy), garbanzos, cannellinis, white beans, black beans, navy beans

Booze — red & white wine, cognac (brandy), port wine, Madeira, sherry, eau de vie

Baking — flour, sugars (white granulated, raw cane, light brown, confectioner’s), baking powder, cornstarch, cornmeal, yeast, cocoa, dark chocolate (70-85% cocoa)

Flavorings –- almond extract, vanilla beans, vanilla extract, Tabasco, Worcestershire

Dried fruits — currants, apricots, figs, prunes, currants

Nuts –- pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans, unsalted peanuts

Honeys (local, raw, unprocessed), mi-figue mi-raisin, raspberry and strawberry preserves, apricot jam, pure maple syrup, peanut butter

Dairy –- whole milk, unsalted butter, eggs, buttermilk, heavy whipping cream

Fruits –- lemons, oranges, grapefruit, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, heirloom tomatoes

Cheeses –- parmigiano reggiano, pecorino romano, gruyère, marscarpone, roquefort or gorgonzola, feta, fontina, manchego

Meats proscuitto, serrano

Spreads tapenades, caponata, hummus