Kavourokeftedes

Crab Cakes with Garlic Sauce, Dill and Fennel

INSPIRED by the salt cod fritters that are beloved all over the islands, Chef Jim Botsacos created these fresh crab cakes with a Greek accent. He serves them with a lemon-caper mayonnaise over a white bean salad.

Ingredients

Crab Cakes

  • 1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, picked over for shells and cartilage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh lovage or celery leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • tablespoons chopped fennel fronds plus tender stalks, or fresh dill
  • ½ cup Garlic Sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lemon-Caper Mayonnaise

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • cups olive oil
  • ¼ cup capers, drained and chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups toasted whole wheat bread crumbs or panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • About ½ cup olive oil for frying
  • Bean Salad with Lemon-Caper Mayonnaise
  • A few sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley

Method

Make the Crab Cakes

In a medium bowl, combine the crab, lovage or celery leaves, 1 tablespoon dill, fennel or more dill, garlic sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper and scoop 6 equal-sized portions of the crab mixture (about ¼ cup each) onto the paper. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Make the Lemon-Caper Mayonnaise

With an electric mixer on low speed, beat the egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice and salt in a medium bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly add the oil in a slow, steady stream, beating until incorporated. The mayonnaise will be thin in consistency, like an easy-to-pour creamy vinaigrette, not thick like regular mayonnaise. Stir in the capers with a wooden spoon and beat for 1 minute. Season to taste with pepper and additional salt if necessary. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

In a shallow bowl, combine the cornstarch, flour, 1 tablespoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Put the eggs in a second shallow bowl and beat well. Combine the bread crumbs, pepper or pepper flakes and parsley in a third shallow bowl.

Remove the crab cakes from the refrigerator. Working with one portion at a time, roll it into a ball, then drop into the flour mixture and shake off any excess. Dip it in the egg, then roll it in the bread-crumb mixture, patting lightly so it adheres. Place on a work surface and press lightly to flatten.

Place a medium skillet over medium heat and add ¼ cup of the oil. When it is hot, place 3 crab cakes in the skillet and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Place on paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining crab cakes, adding more oil as necessary.

Transfer the crab cakes to a baking sheet and bake until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes.

To serve, divide the white bean salad among six serving plates. Place the crab cakes on top. Drizzle with the mayonnaise. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

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