Monday, July 12, 2010

Crabcake Sandwich -- Italian Style

A couple of days ago I decided to have an "Iron Chef" night, where I would pick an ingredient and try to come up with two or three dishes featuring that ingredient.  This time, the ingredient was crab and I immediately thought of a crabcake dish.

However, this dish is not a Maryland crab cake or even a Maryland style crab cake (yes, there is a significant difference between the two).  Rather, working with the Iron Chef theme, I decided to make a crab cake sandwich, Italian style.  The recipe does not use mayonnaise or even Worcestershire sauce.  Instead of using prepared mustard, I used cracked mustard and dry mustard., which gave the crabcake a rather distinct taste.  To pay homage to the Free State, I did use Old Bay.  Finally, I  did away with the bun and served the crabcake on fried polenta. It is topped with roasted red and orange peppers.  This is a dish that can be made in a really short time, particularly when you use precooked polenta.

A Chef Bolek Original
Serves 3-4

Ingredients (for the Crabcake):
1 pound of jumbo lump crab
1 egg
1 to 2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon of Old Bay
2 tablespoons of coarse ground mustard
1 teaspoon of dry mustard
3/4 cup of panko bread crumbs
Salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste

Ingredients (for the rest of the dish):
Precooked polenta, sliced
Roasted peppers

1.  Make the crabcakes.  Beat the egg and add in the crushed red pepper, Old Bay, coarse ground mustard, dry mustard, panko bread crumbs, salt and pepper.  Mix the ingredients and then fold in the crab meat.  Note that the mixture will seem dry, but it will be okay.  After mixing the crab with the ingredients, shape the crab into balls.  You should be able to get four balls out of 16 ounces of crab.  Refrigerate the balls for about fifteen minutes.  Thereafter, take the balls into your hand and gently form the cake.  You can then pan-fry the crab cakes with 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil for about four to five minutes per side.  Be careful when flipping the crab cakes so as to keep them together.

2.  Fry the slices of polenta.  Cut the precooked polenta into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices.  In a separate pan, fry the slices in a couple inches of olive oil for several minutes on each side.  

3.  Plate the dish.  To plate, place the polenta on the plate and place the crab cake on top.  Then add the roasted pepper slices on the crab cake.  


TIP: You can roast your own peppers if you have a gas stove.  Turn one of the burners and place the pepper over the flame.  The skin of the pepper will blacken.  Rotate the pepper until it is blackened on all sides.  Then, using running water, pull the blackened skin off the pepper. 

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