Crab Cakes With Red Beet And Horseradish Rémoulade
- BEET AND HORSERADISH RÉMOULADE:
- 1 bunch small beets
- Extra-virgin olive oil for coating if baking, plus
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon rice or champagne vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons freshly-grated horseradish - (to 3)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- CRAB CAKES:
- 3/4 pound yellow Finn potatoes - (to 1 lb)
- 1 pound fresh blue-crab meat picked clean
- 1 red bell pepper roasted, peeled, seeded, and minced
- 3 scallions, white part only minced
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 1/2 jalapeño seeded, minced
- 1 egg
- 6 tablespoons mayonnaise - (to 7)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup fresh toasted bread crumbs - (to 3/4)
- Peanut oil for frying
- Lemon wedges for garnish
- Chervil or tarragon sprigs for garnish
To Make The Rémoulade: Bake or steam the beets. To bake the beets, trim them, leaving 1 inch of the stem intact, but do not peel. Lightly coat with olive oil and put them in a roasting pan or baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees until fork tender. This should take 30 to 50 minutes, depending on their size and age. To steam the beets, trim as directed but do not rub with oil. Place on a steamer rack over boiling water, cover, and steam for 15 to 25 minutes, until tender. Allow the beets to cool, then peel and grate enough to measure 1 cup. Save any leftover beets for salads.
Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and 1/4 cup oil in a bowl, until emulsified. Stir in the 1 cup beets, the horseradish to taste, and the pepper. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
To Make The Crabcakes: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes for small ones and up to 1 hour if they're very large, until tender. Allow them to cool, then peel and finely grate.
To make the crab mixture, combine the crabmeat, potatoes, bell pepper, scallions, parsley, jalapeño, egg, 6 tablespoons mayonnaise, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Mix gently. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon mayonnaise if the mixture seems too dry. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs over the mixture and combine gently, adding more bread crumbs, as necessary, until the mixture just holds together. (If you are going to panfry the crab cakes, the mixture can be looser.) Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes (or for as long as several hours).
When the crab mixture is well chilled, form the cakes. Make 12 small ones or 6 large ones, depending on your preference, making each one an equal thickness at least 3/8-inch. To deep-fry the crab cakes, pour the oil to a depth of 2 inches into a deep, heavy saucepan and heat to 375 degrees on a deep-frying thermometer. Working in batches, add the crab cakes and fry until golden brown and warm through. This should take 4 to 6 minutes, depending on how cold they are when they go in. Do not crowd the pan, and turn the cakes over if they float. Using tongs or a wire skimmer, transfer the cakes to paper towels to drain briefly and keep warm in a low oven while you fry the remaining crab cakes.
To panfry the crab cakes, use just enough oil to coat the surface on a nonstick skillet. Place over medium-high heat, and when hot, add the crab cakes, again being careful not to crowd the pan. Cook for about 7 minutes, until golden brown and crisp on one side. Turn the crab cakes over and cook on the second side for about 5 minutes until brown. Place on a platter in a low oven while you cook the remaining crab cakes.
To serve, divide the crab cakes among serving plates and top each with a small dollop of the rémoulade. Garnish with lemon wedges and chervil sprigs and serve at once.
This recipe yields 6 servings.
Other decisions to make: The crab cakes can be deep-fried or sautéed in a nonstick skillet, and you can make them any size. I like appetizer-sized crab cakes, but Brigid loves them so big you could make sandwiches with them.
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