Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Crab cakes again, yay!

The grocery store finally had more of that Louis C. Kemp imitation crab.  It contains 3% real crab and it is closer to the same taste and texture of real crab. While Fern was away I tried the Alaska King Crab flavored pollock which has taste vaguely reminiscent of crab and the texture of pre chewed bubble gum. Not a good crab substitute at all.  

I was going to use ready made mayonnaise for the tartar sauce but the jar was empty so I had to make some.  I had been using Berio xv oil but it has a bitter after taste so I switched to Bertolini and this was the first time making mayo with it.  With Berio I used 1/2 vegetable oil to give it a lighter taste but since Bertolini isn't bitter I used it straight. Mistake! Extra virgin olive oil has a strong flavor that is very pleasant in small amounts but overbearing in large. The oil overpowered the sweetness of the pickles and the tang of the lemon juice. It didn't taste bad, it just didn't taste wonderful. This recipe corrects those deficiencies.


1 egg yolk
1/5 cup xv olive oil
1/5 cup vegetable oil - less than 1/2 cup total
pinch of salt
2 tsp lemon juice

Mayonnaise is an emulsion which means two normally immiscible liquids blended by suspending one in the other. This is achieved by slowly adding oil to egg yolk while whisking vigorously. The emulsion thickens as more oil is emulsified. If too much oil is added at one time, the sauce will 'break' and release it's oil. Once an emulsion is broken it can't be fixed. The only way forward is to start with a fresh egg yolk, slowly add the broken sauce while whisking. Don't over pour again! When the broken sauce is taken up slowly add the remaining oil. When the oil is all taken up add the salt and lemon juice.

Tartar Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp sweet pickle relish
lemon juice
maybe salt

Taste and adjust.  

Crab Cakes

1/2 pound crab (real $8, Kemp $2.25)
1 tbsp flour
1/4 cup bread crumbs
half stick celery diced
slice of onion diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed, diced
1-2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt

I should have put flour in the crab first to coat it all but I left it out and the egg didn't want to adhere to the crab so the cakes were crumbly. I lightly caramelized the onion then sweated the celery and finally the garlic.  I took that out of the pan and let it cool.  I reserved half the bread crumbs on a plate for coating and added half the bread crumbs to the crab and flour. Next I added the cooled vegetables, salt and one egg. Mix.  If the mixture is crumbly add another egg. Roll the finished cake in bread crumbs to coat.

I paired the cakes with yellow flesh potatoes, boiled and served with butter, salt and fresh chives. Carrots, steamed and served with butter and salt. I fried the cakes on medium+ heat till firm. The crab is ready to eat so it's only the egg that needs to be cooked.

Plate and dive. Mine were bland so this recipe should be better but keep the salt close by. My all xv olive oil mayonnaise overpowered the tartar sauce.  Now that I think of it I might have improved it with a little sugar. My meal wasn't bad but it could have been so much better if I'd followed this recipe using mixed oil, flour, an extra egg and more salt.

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