Dungeness crab cakes on pea sprouts with lemongrass kaffir sake beurre blanc
When daddy’s away, mama will play, you’d better believe it! Jonas high-tailed it to Japan for work last week and left Bentley and I to our own devices. The first thing I taught Bentley to do was jump on the bed. Every self-respecting 16 month old should know how to do that, right? The next order of business on my list of infidelities? Cram in as much slithery slippery savory sexy seafood as possible over the week (and do so while watching all the chick flicks I need to catch up on since the last time he left town). Jonas isn’t big into our fair friends from the sea with the exception of Ahi tuna, so it’s not easy to get my daily quota.
In our pre-Bentley life we used to frequent these establishments called restaurants wherein I would eat my fishy fill. Since his arrival, however, I can barely remember what those places look like as the bambino refuses to sit in one for more than 10 minutes, so we’ve temporarily succumbed to a hiatus on dining out. I realized I was deficient in my fish intake when I went strolling through Uwajimaya grocery store last week and began involuntarily licking the glass between me and the frolicking lobsters in the aquarium. As other patrons looked on in horror, I came to terms with my obvious withdrawal symptoms and had a closer look around the well-stocked seafood department for something seasonal and fresh. As luck would have it, a windfall of Dungeness crabbies had just meandered in and plunged themselves into the crab boil. The good fishmongers at Uwajimaya took it upon themselves to de-shell the luscious red-tinged meat, so how could I pass up buying a healthy handful (or three)?
kaffir lime leaves
I’m on a bit of a kick with mixing Old World A (Europe) with Old World B (Asia) these days. I think it’s because I’m smack dab in the middle of both of them here in Seattle- it’s kind of where we get our concept of Northwest fusion. I knew I wanted to throw together some locally-inspired crab cakes with my lumpy loot, complete with local duck eggs and Dungeness from our own high seas. I also wanted to incorporate elements of my two Old Worlds, however, which is where a souped-up beurre blanc comes in. Although I’m sure the French will disagree, I feel this rendition of beurre blanc complete with kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and a substitution of unfiltered sake for the white wine knocks any staid classic version out of the water. And it sure dresses a mean crab cake! The crab cakes themselves were dressed up with a few tablespoons of lemon mint mayonnaise for a subtle citrus note.
Throw in some lime and oil-drenched pea sprouts and sub panko for breadcrumbs et voila- another global masterpiece debuts in the Salty Seattle kitchen.
persimmon, pear pomegranate salad
I served this with a persimmon, poached pear and pomegranate salad (because you know alliteration is so important in haute cuisine) and invited some subversive neighbors and friends to get in on the naughty nosh. We had such a spectacular time, sake bombs notwithstanding, that I just had to make the meal a second time around before Jonas returned- it was that good!
Dungeness Crab Cakes with Lemongrass Kaffir Sake Beurre Blanc
For the crab cakes:
- 1 pound fresh Dungeness crab meat
- ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 5 tbsp lemon mint mayonnaise (recipe to follow)
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 duck eggs lightly beaten
Mix all ingredients together and form into eight round patties. In a large skillet, fry 2-3 minutes per side over medium heat.
lemon mint mayonnaise
For the lemon mint mayonnaise:
- 1 duck egg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- ½ c packed mint leaves
- 2 tbsb lemon juice
- Pinch dry mustard
- Black pepper
- ¾ c canola oil
Mix all ingredients except oil in food processor for 30 seconds. Add oil to desired consistency through tube in steady stream over the course of one minute. Do not over mix. Mayonnaise should keep in refrigerator up to three days.
For the lemongrass sake kaffir beurre blanc:
- 1 small shallot chopped coarsely
- ½ stalk lemongrass cut into ½” rounds
- ½ tsp peppercorns whole
- 2 bay leaves ripped in a few places to impart flavor
- 6 kaffir lime leaves ripped in a few places to impart flavor
- ¾ c sake
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 stick butter chopped into ¼” cubes
Reduce all ingredients except cream and butter in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat to half of original volume. Add the cream and continue to reduce again by half. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean saucepan and whisk in the butter a few pieces at a time. Rewarm before drizzling over crab cakes.
- Crab cakes
- 2 c pea sprouts
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Quality finishing salt to taste
- Lime or lemon juice to taste
- Beurre blanc
Toss the pea sprouts with the oil, lemon and salt. Layer each plate with pea sprouts, two crab cakes, and beurre blanc.