Chances are you haven't made crab cakes like the ones at Bastille restaurant in Alexandria. They are ethnic fusion done right: the zip of fresh ginger, chives and lime; the Asian subtleties of sesame oil and panko bread crumbs; meaty chunks of Louisiana crawfish; the sweet, unusual heat of ground pepper from the Basque region of southwest France.
The mixture is firm and moist enough to hold together and go straight into the pan, without the usual refrigerated holding pattern that many crab cake recipes require. Even if they do fall apart, says chef Christophe Poteaux, they'll taste just as good. (To see how quickly they come together, see Poteaux make them in the How-To video.)
The coulis -- a thick, pureed sauce -- should be served at room temperature; it may be warmed, but do not let it come to a boil. Serve with herbed basmati rice or a salad of endive or arugula.
See the tip below about the Basque pepper piment d'Espelette. We found frozen, cooked Bayou Select crawfish tail meat at Cameron's Seafood, 4831 Bethesda Ave., Bethesda, 301-951-0808.
-- Bonnie S. Benwick
Yield: (makes eight or nine 2 1/2-inch crab cakes)
- For the Crab-Crawfish Cakes
- 8 ounces cooked crawfish tail meat (unseasoned), cut into small chunks
- 1 pound crabmeat, picked free of shells and cartilage
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
- 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon finely minced chives or scallions
- 1/2-inch piece peeled ginger root and its juice, finely grated (preferably with a Microplane grater)
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground piment d'espelette pepper (see TIP, at right; may substitute 1 pinch cayenne pepper)
- 1/2 medium lime, juice and finely grated zest
- 1/4 cup panko (japanese-style) bread crumbs, plus more as needed
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- For the Piquillo Coulis
- 8 ounces canned or jarred roasted piquillo peppers (may substitute other roasted peppers)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Pinch piment d'espelette pepper (may substitute cayenne pepper)
- 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
- 1/2 cup water (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
For the Crab-Crawfish Cakes: Taste the crawfish tail meat; if it is salty, rinse lightly and pat dry.
Combine all ingredients except the vegetable oil in a medium bowl, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Use a biscuit cutter or use your hands to form the mixture into eight or nine 2 1/2-inch cakes. (The mixture should be quite moist; add bread crumbs as needed.)
Heat the vegetable oil in a large, ovenproof nonstick saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat, until the oil shimmers. Sear the cakes for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until golden brown, working in batches if necessary. Transfer to the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
While the Crab-Crawfish Cakes are in the oven, make the Piquillo Coulis: Combine the peppers, honey, piment d'Espelette and yogurt in a blender. Blend until smooth, adding up to 1/2 cup water as needed and adding salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
To serve, place the cakes on individual plates and add a swath of the coulis around the side. Serve immediately.
From Bastille chef-owner Christophe Poteaux.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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