Nicholas's Award Winning Crabcakes

(serves 4)

At my restaurant, Mendo Bistro, we found that less is more. In terms of crab cakes, that means less filler equals more crab flavor.

This recipe won the Clinic's Crabcakes contest so many times that Nicholas was promoted to judge of the event.>

Crab cakes

1 1/2 pounds Dungeness crab meat
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs + additional for outer coating
2 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 - 3/4 cup tarragon aioli (recipe follows)
Oil for sautéeing

Combine crab, bread crumbs and green onions. Add 1/2 cup aioli and test mixture to see how well it holds together. If needed add additional aioli. Do not overwork ingredients. Cakes should be loose and just barely hold together. Form into cakes about 3" in diameter, and place one side in bread crumbs.

Heat oil in medium saute pan over medium high heat until just smoking and place cakes, bread crumb side down in pan. Saute until golden and carefully turn over. Lower heat to medium and saute until heated through.

Serve on cabbage salad (recipe follows) and top with additional aioli.

Tarragon Aioli

2 egg yolks
3 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1 dash Tabasco sauce
1/4 cup very hot water
2 cups olive oil
1/2 bunch tarragon, finely chopped

In food processor, or blender, place all ingredients up to Tabasco and run machine. Pour in hot water and process for 15 seconds. With machine running, slowly drizzle in oil until a mayonnaise consistency is reached. Stir in chopped tarragon.

Cabbage Salad

1 head green cabbage
Sea salt
1 bunch chives, finely chopped
1/3 cup Champagne vinegar

Remove outer leaves and core from cabbage and slice thinly. Toss with a liberal amount of salt and let sit for 30 minutes. Drain off liquid from cabbage and add chives and vinegar.

next recipe: Michael's Caspar Chai
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