Friday, February 20, 2015

Mary Margaret’s Crab Cakes With Basil Aoili

Every family has a recipe lore. Someone, whether it be a mother, grandmother, aunt, brother, or uncle is known for a recipe that is passed down from generation to generation. It can be an old-world pastry, an authentic Italian tomato sauce, or the world’s best sour pickles. In our family, it is a delicacy; it is Mary Margaret’s crab cakes. Mary Margaret was Tom’s mother. She wasn’t an especially great cook, but she knew a winner of a recipe when she saw it, and she was unparalleled when it came to hosting dinner parties.  This is a woman who was determined to have 50 couples celebrate her 50th anniversary in her home using her own china, silver, and crystal. She spent her entire life scouring antique shops and estate sales to make this happen, and she lived long enough to host that 50th anniversary dinner party. Sadly, she died all too young at age 76. There is no one who would have more into the recent publication of my cookbook than Mary Margaret. Honestly, she would have struggled with the notion of gluten free. She would have been astonished to learn that her son had celiac disease, but in retrospect, we know that she, too, most certainly had celiac disease. These crab cakes are an adaptation of her most memorable, knock-out recipe using Against The Grain Original Baguettes.

(based on a Ladies Home Journal, 1986 recipe)
Makes 8 crab cakes or 4 servings

Crab Cakes:
1 Large egg plus 1 egg yolk
4 teaspoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 drops Tabasco sauce
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons baby leeks (or green onions,) finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
½ Against The Grain Original Baguette, finely diced
½ pound lump crabmeat
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup arugula (optional for serving)

Basil Aoili:
½ cup packed fresh basil leaves
½ cup mayonnaise (such as Hain Safflower Mayonnaise)
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 clove fresh garlic, very finely chopped
½ teaspoon salt
2-3 drops Tabasco sauce

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, lemon juice, Tabasco sauce, salt, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and black pepper.
3. Whisk in the parsley and leeks. Add the chopped baguette and crabmeat and toss until fully moistened and the baguettes absorb some of the liquid.

4. Shape the mixture into 8 equal patties (the mixture will be crumbly) on the baking sheet. Drizzle each crab cake with approximately one teaspoon of butter. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

5. Preheat the oven to 475°F and place the oven rack in its top-most position. Bake the crab cakes for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve on a bed of arugula with basil aioli.

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