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Crab cake bites and bacon fried pecans: Two do-ahead appetizers

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2. Mix the breadcrumbs, baking powder, Old Bay, and mustard powder together in a small bowl. Add to the crab mixture and gently fold through. Again, you want everything combined, but don’t break up the crabmeat. Refrigerate the mixture for at least an hour, but several is fine. This binds the mixture together and makes it easier to fill the tins.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 24 mini-muffin cups well with nonstick cooking spray. Fill each cup with crab cake mixture, pressing it in to fill it well. Press a rounded teaspoon down in the middle of each cake to make a little well in the center (this will keep them from mounding up and create a nice flat surface for the tartar sauce). You can cover the tins with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for several hours at this point.

Bake the crab cakes for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown, then cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Use a knife to loosen the cakes and remove them from the pan. Spoon a little tartar sauce on top of each cake and serve immediately, though these taste lovely at room temperature.

Artichoke tartar sauce

For the tartar sauce:

4 medium sized whole artichokes hearts (see note)

2 egg yolks

2 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley leaves

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup safflower, grapeseed or canola oil

Drain and rinse the artichoke hearts well and pat dry. Drop them in a food processor (I use the mini) and add the capers, egg yolks, parsley and garlic cloves. Pulse three to four times to break everything up into a rough paste; scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the motor running, drizzle the oil into the bowl in a thin, steady stream. Process until the sauce is thick and creamy. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl halfway through. Scrape the tartar sauce into a container and keep covered in the fridge until ready to use. It will keep overnight.

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