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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Faidley's World Famous Crab Cakes (For my little Sister)

Growing up in Maryland, the Blue Crab Capitol of the World, I've had many a Crab Cake.  I've had them all along the Atlantic and Pacific coastline cities and towns.  I have many recipes in my collection but this is the one I always gravitate too on special occasions.  Faidley's is in the Baltimore's Inner Harbour's Lexington Market, and have been making them since 1866. Yes, I like H&M's too.  I made this batch over the 2010 Holidays.  I wanted a small salad to go along of arugula with a lemony citrus dressing.  The dressing matched the flavors of the Crab Cake so well, that I decided to just serve the Cake on top.  WOW is all I can say!  It really worked so well!  The all elusive encompassing taste flavors of Sweet, Sour, Bitter and Salty were achieved in this dish.  I've included the Lemony Dressing recipe.  My lady, Miss Mikki is an amazing cook and likes to experiment with recipes too.  She whipped up a Tarter Sauce that was way too good. I included that recipe too.  In the picture, it was New Years Eve, and of course some Champagne, but during supper, I opened a cold Vovray that went beautifully.  Bon Appetite!    

1 lb large lump crabmeat, picked over
1 cup crushed saltines
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 egg
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 dash Tabasco sauce
vegetable oil (for frying) (optional)
clarified butter (optional) or olive oil, for sauteing (optional)  I use a combo of the butter and canola oil.
  1. Spread the crab meat out in a flat pan (cookie sheet) and sprinkle the crushed saltines over the top.
  2. In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, egg, mustard, Worcestershire and tobasco.
  3. Pour the mayonnaise over the crab meat and gently toss or fold the ingredients together, taking care not to break up the lumps of crab meat.
  4. Let the mixture sit for at least 2-3 minutes to set before forming the cakes.
  5. Form the cakes by hand or with an ice cream scoop into 8 mounds about 3″ in diameter and 3/4″ thick.Do NOT pack the mixture too firmly.
  6. The cakes should be as loose as possible, yet still hold their shape.
  7. Place the cakes on a tray or platter lined with wax paper, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cooking.
  8. To sauté: Heat a small amount of clarified butter or olive oil, or a combination, in a skillet and sauté the cakes, turning several times, until golden brown, about 8 minute total cooking time.
  9. Remove with a slotted utensil to a paper towel to drain.
  10.  Serve at once over some chopped arugula, sprinkled well with the dressing.  Tartar sauce on the side.    
Next time I make them I'm going to try a recipe from when Lucy, my sister, was sailing in the Virgin Islands on a private yacht.  The cook used some Ritz crackers, some corn kernels, red bell peppers and some red pepper flakes along with the mayo.....sounds good.  I'll let you know!

Meyer Lemon and Garlic Dressing (Currandooley Dressing)

Tangy and refreshing, this dressing can be used to dress any combination of mixed greens. It can also be made with juice from regular lemons, and the results were just as delicious, if a bit more tart.
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. coarse salt
1⁄2 cup mild extra-virgin olive oil (use really good evoo!  I use Nicolas Alazizar from France)
Black pepper  ( I use only fresh ground Tellicherry Pepper) 
1⁄2 cup Meyer lemon juice  (I find Meyers lemons at Fresh Market..and I grow them too; fab!)

1. Finely chop the garlic on your wooden board.  Sprinkle the salt on top.  Take your knife and mash the garlic into the salt.  Leave some small chunks of garlic. In a small bowl, gradually drizzle in olive oil while mixing vigorously with a fork. Add a generous sprinkling of pepper and continue to mix.
2. Whisk in lemon juice to make a smooth dressing. Strain dressing through a fine sieve, discard solids, and adjust the seasonings. Store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
3.  I said the heck with some of the above and used my hand held emulsifier  and didn't strain.  I put the dressing in a Good Seasons cruet.  Perfect! 
Mikki's Amazing Tarter Sauce:
1/2 cup of that Kraft Olive Oil Mayo
2 Tablespoons of finely chopped Brooklyn Pickles (very briny, I saw them on a piece from FoodTV.  I found them at Williams Sonoma or get online.  Their worth it if you love pickles.)
1 Tablespoon of capers
1 Tablespoon of Champagne Vinegar
1 Tablespoon of course mustard
Kosher Salt to taste
1 Tablespoon of tarragon 
3 very thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup of parsley
Put all of the above in a small food processor and blend.  Chill in the fridge with the Crab Cakes.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Jimmy's Creole Oyster Stew

While working, I traveled heavily throughout all of Louisiana. It's truly my most favorite cuisine by far. This one came from one of Emeril's restaurants in New Orleans. I've tasted oyster stew from New England to the Pacific Northwest, from my native Maryland, Virginia, and the Gulf Coast, but this is the one I love the most.  As a constant request during the winter holidays, I've made this recipe many many times.  Some have been disasters, but I have it down pat now.  As always, you absolutely must have fresh shucked oysters.  I get mine from our local Loozieanna store, and I use Fresh Market's Chesapeake Bay oysters.

Jimmy's Creole Oyster Stew   

6 bacon strips (or pancetta) chopped fairly small.  (freeze a little bit to make for easier cutting) 
1 stick of butter
1 cup of chopped onions, slightly small
1/2 cup of finely chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green onions tops included
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Heavy pinch of cayenne (one time I added like 3 it was pretty spicy....we liked it)
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup dry all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 quart fresh oysters, liquid drained and reserved
3 cups milk
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
1/2 cup heavy cream


In a large pot, cook the bacon down to render the fat but not too crisp, kinda chewy, bout 5-6 min.  Remove bacon from the fat and drain on paper towels.  Discard all but about 1 heavy tablespoon of fat from the pan.

To the remaining fat in the pan add the stick of butter and melt over medium heat.  Add the onions and celery and cook gently till soft bout 5 minutes.  Add the green onions, garlic, salt, white pepper, cayenne, and thyme and cook stirring for one minute.  Add the flour and cook, stirring, to make a light roux, about 3 minutes.

Add the wine and cook for 1 minute.  Add the reserved oyster liquor and milk and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until the liquid thickens; not too much, about 4 minutes.  Add the oysters and parsley and simmer until the oysters start to "curl", about 3 minutes.

Stir in the cream and reserved bacon and cook for 1 more minute.  Remove from the heat and adjust your seasonings.  Serve hot with warm crusty french bread.  You can add a small spoonful of good sherry, (not cooking sherry), on top like we Marylanders do.  I like a cold crisp white wine like a Chenin Blanc or a French Vouvray.   The flavors will explode on your palette with the stew!  Bon Appetite!