Paleo Crab Cakes

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Paleo Crab Cakes credits to Scott Jones, Cocktail Sauce credits to my dad, and plate credits to Crow Canyon Home

Happy New Year and happy Crabby Patty season! Those dates around November – January are known in the Bay Area as Crab Season. Farmers Markets and local grocers are chock full of crab fresh from our bay. These little buggers are delicious just by themselves, but why not dress them up for a little fun? I love crab cakes, but in the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, I wanted to come up with a version that was Paleo-friendly and delicious. This recipe eliminates gluten and mayonnaise, leaving only fresh, healthy, and satisfying ingredients. The recipe and sauce are adapted versions of two family recipes: Dad’s cocktail sauce and bro-lo Scott’s Northwest Crab Cakes. Ready to get all healthy and crabby? Okay let’s go make Paleo Crab Cakes.

Crabs at the local Farmer's Market, thanks to From The Sea To You (fromthec2u.com)

Crabs at the local Farmer’s Market, thanks to From The Sea To You (www.fromthec2u.com)

Paleo Crab Cakes

This recipe is a version borrowed from my bro-lo (aka, brother in law, Scott) and adapted to be gluten-free. Because the original version is so incredibly delicious, I’ve also included bro-lo’s original recipe below (thanks, Scott). These little gems can be served in many ways. I’ve provided a few suggestions below to get more creative, but the recipe as written below is with my dad’s original and simple cocktail sauce.

Ingredients for Crab Cakes
Makes six medium sized crab cakes, serves 2
1 whole dungeness crab, pre-steamed, cleaned & cracked*
1 tsp stone ground mustard
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tbs green onions, chopped
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning (can be found at your local grocer)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp worchester sauce
1 large egg
salt & pepper
1/2 – 1 cup almond flour
1 tsp olive oil or butter
1/4 cup rice flour
1/2 tsp parsley, chopped, for garnish
lemon, for garnish
*ask your butcher – they do this for you!

Ingredients for Cocktail Sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 lemon, juiced
1/4 – 1/2 tsp horseradish (to taste)
1/4 tsp worchester sauce
Directions: mix this stuff together. Ta-da

Optional ingredients for serving:
avocado
spinach, tossed in olive oil & vinegar
poached eggs
chardonnay (actually, not optional)

Start by cleaning out your crab meat. One entire dungeness crab should yield you about a pound of meat. Add all ingredients down to salt & pepper and mix with a fork. TASTE. It should taste like crab with hints of mustard, heat, and a little zing from the lemon.

Cracking crab can be easy without tools: have your butcher pre-crack the crab and use the claws to get hard-to-reach pieces of meat. Hand model: mom.

Cracking crab can be easy without tools: have your butcher pre-crack the crab and use the claws to get hard-to-reach pieces of meat. Hand model: mom.

Ingredients ready to be mixed together

Ingredients ready to be mixed together

Add about 1/2 the almond flour, mix, and continue to add until it becomes slightly course. You should be able to create a patty in your hand and have it hold together. Too little almond flour and it will be too liquid-y. Too much almond flour and it’ll fall apart in your hands.

All ingredients mixed together plus the almond flour. Add until it starts to look

All ingredients mixed together plus the almond flour. Add until it becomes slightly course and you can smooth it together to create a patty

Now, create some patties! This recipe yields about six 2-inch diameter patties. At this point, you can refrigerate and keep for one day until cooking.

Crabby patties all ready to go! Plate by Crow Canyon Home.

Crabby patties all ready to go! Plate by Crow Canyon Home.

In a saute pan over medium-high heat, heat up olive oil or butter. Pat both sides of the patties with rice flour. The easiest way to do this is to put the rice flower on a small plate and press both sides of the patties to it. Immediately fry the patties for about 3 minutes on each side. They should be golden brown and crispy.

I'm crispy!

I’m crispy! AND golden brown!

I'm saucy!

I’m saucy!

Serve these little buggers with the simple cocktail sauce, chopped parsley and a wedge of lemon. These can also be dolled up as an excuse for breakfast by adding poached eggs or justified as being super healthy by serving over a fresh salad. But please, whatever you do, enjoy your crab season and enjoy your new year, new you, and New Year’s resolutions!

Paleo Crab Cakes over spinach (tossed with olive oil and lemon juice) and topped with poached eggs

Paleo Crab Cakes over spinach (tossed with olive oil and lemon juice) and topped with poached eggs

Scott’s original Northwest Crab Cakes
2 whole dungeness – I’m not sure what this equates to in lump meat, but I usually figure about 3 cups of meat per crab.  And don’t use lump meat, it’s expensive, and is usually freeze-thawed too many times
3 egg whites
1/4 red onion
1/2 jalapeno
1/4 green pepper
1/4 orange pepper – use whatever color peppers you want, this isn’t a racist recipe, I just like the green and orange because they make the cakes look pretty
1 bunch cilantro
1/2 lime
2 cups bread crumbs
2 tbsp light mayo
1 tbsp brown or spicy mustard – I like the beaver brand, because it’s good, and because it’s called beaver.
1 tsp old bay seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder – I also sometimes use minced garlic, but that can sometimes get chunky and overwhelm the flavor
A pinch of black pepper, salt and cumin, and then any additional seasoning you want to add, but I’ve found the old bay and garlic powder to be plenty
Shell the crab.  Don’t worry about the size of the chunks, but be diligent in keeping shells out.Dice all the veggies, til they’re about the size of your pinky nail.  Do the jalapeno a little smaller. Chop the cilantro.  Use as much as you want.  I love cilantro, so I’ll usually add about 1/3 cup, but some people like less. Mix the crab meat, diced veggies, cilantro, juice from half a lime, mayo/mustard, seasoning and ½ cup bread crumbs.  BE SURE to not use too many, as too many can cause the cakes to not stick, and be too mealy. Turn the egg whites in to the mixture.  Make sure to get it good and mixed, but try not to destroy the fiber of the crab meat too much. Throw the whole damn thing in the fridge for an hour or so. Go for a run. Put the rest of the bread crumbs in a shallow dish. Heat a small amount of oil in a large pan or skillet over med-high.  I’ve tried cast-iron, but I really think the all-clad works best. Hand form the cakes.  Make sure to squeeze them, and drain some of the moisture out.  If they’re too moist, they’ll fall apart when you cook them. Bread both sides of the cakes with the bread crumbs, then set them in the pan. Cook both sides until golden brown.  Usually 4-5 minutes per side??  But it’s different each time. Favorite sauces are the simple hollandaise with lemon, sriracha and tartar or ginger peanut.  I’ve made some pretty wild sauces, and they’re always awesome. Drink lots of wine and whisky.

A Trio of Burrata Salads: Traditional Tomato, Sweet Fig and Pickled Peaches

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From left to right, traditional tomato & burrata, fig & hazelnut burrata, and picked peach burrata

Burrata Burrata Burrata! Another delicious food I “can’t” eat on a paleo food plan, but I do it anyway. Because (a) a small bite of anything won’t kill me and (b) I have exactly zero self restraint. I have found out a few things about burrata. First, burrata is actually mozzarella cheese, not a whole different cheese in itself. It is a solid mozzarella on the outside that encases shredded mozzarella mixed with cream. Hello, YUM. Secondly, it’s more common than you think. Even if you live out in the middle of the desert in Washington (my mom does), you can find it at Yoke’s Fresh Market. Third, it is like Lay’s Potato Chips or little black dresses – you can’t have just one. Fourth, you can use it about a zillion ways. I counted. But I settled on showing you three.

Today’s post is three separate burrata salads that I served as an appetizer. I experimented with using different sections of the burrata (outer later, middle cream section, or both), different mixin’s from traditional to way out there (pickled peaches!), and varying salts from my favorite Portland salt shops. All three are relatively easy and are serious crowd pleasers, so let’s get to cooking, shall we?

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Trio of Burrata Salads: Traditional Tomato, Sweet Fig, and Pickled Peaches

These three burrata salads are sure to be crowd pleasers, inviting everyone to enjoy tasty bites of fresh tomatoes, honeyed figs or sweet & sour pickled peaches.

Before we start, a few things:

Burrata comes either in a plastic container filled with water & the burrata ball (like mozzarella) or wrapped in a specialty waxy/plastic paper. The easiest way to handle burrata is to take it out of the vehicle it comes in and place in a small bowl. Once you cut into the ball, the creamy mozzarella & cream inside will go everywhere, so it’s best contained somewhere it’s free to go crazy.

Since there are few ingredients, use the freshest and the ripest. I harp on this constantly because it’s true. If you use old, mealy tomatoes or under-ripe peaches, the salads just aren’t worth it!

I’ve included below three separate recipes, ordered from easiest to “most difficult”, and by “most difficult” I mean there are one to two extra steps.

And finally, I’ve included the salts I used on each, all from specialty shops in the Portland area. Of course you can use your own favorite salts, but I have a thing about specialty salt (I own 19 of them currently) and giving props to the amazing shops that sell great ingredients.

Traditional Tomato Burrata Salad

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Tomato Burrata salad with Jacobson’s Pinot Blanc Flake Salt

Ingredients:
3 -4 heirloom tomatoes, in multiple colors
Fresh basil
Burrata
Olive oil
Jacobson’s pinot blanc flake salt

Wash and dry tomatoes and basil. Slice tomatoes and use smaller leaves of basil. Arrange pretty on a plate. Cut off small slices of burrata, using primarily the outer layer of the burrata. Place on salad and finish with olive oil & Jacobson’s pinot blanc flake salt.

Honeyed Fig, Hazelnut and Burrata Salad

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Honeyed Fig, Hazelnut & Burrata Salad (roasted version) with Portland Homestead Pink Himalayan Salt.

Ingredients:
4 Mission Figs
Balsamic vinegar & olive oil (if roasting, see notes below)
Burrata
Hazelnuts, chopped
Honey or Agave
Portland Homestead Pink Himalayan Salt

For this recipe, you can either bake the figs with olive oil & balsamic vinegar or leave them fresh. I prefer the fresh version, however the roasted version can provide the heat element to your trio of salads. The recipe below is the roasted version, but just skip the roasty parts if you’d like it fresh.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Wash & dry figs, cut off the stems, and cut in half. Drizzle with a bit of balsamic vinegar & olive oil. Place on a small pan that’s been covered with aluminum foil. Bake for 10 mn until you can smell the roasty figs, but do not overcook as they will turn to smooshy figs.

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Perfectly roasted figs

Arrange figs pretty on a plate. Cut off small slices of burrata, making sure to include both the outer and inner layers of the burrata. Place on figs and finish with hazelnuts, honey or agave and Portland Homestead Pink Himalayan Salt.

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Honeyed Figs, Hazelnuts & Burrata Salad (fresh version)

Pickled Peach, Micro Greens and Burrata Salad

Pickled Peach, Micro Green, and Burrata salad with Zupan Murray River Salt

Pickled Peach, Micro Green, and Burrata salad with Zupan Murray River Salt

Ingredients:
1 incredibly ripe peach
1/4c champagne vinegar
1/4c apple cider vinegar
1/4c sugar
1/4c water
2 tbs allspice
Burrata
Micro Greens, stems removed (I used a micro green salad mix of baby spinach & arugula)
Olive Oil
Zupan Market’s Murray River Salt

Wash and dry peach and micro greens. Then, make the pickling sauce. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add vinegars, sugar, water and allspice. Heat until sugar dissolves and set in fridge to cool. Peel the peach. The easiest way to peel is to place a peach in boiling water for about 2 minutes, run under cool water, and the skin will come off easily. Thanks, mom, for teaching me this since you canned about a thousand points of peaches in your life. Slice peach and let pickle in the pickling sauce for about 10 minutes. Do NOT over-pickle. Vinegar is a tenderizer and will turn your peaches to smoosh if you leave for more than 30 minutes.

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“I don’t like to be pickled tooooo much” – Peaches

Drain peaches and arrange pretty on a plate. Cut into the burrata and pull out the creamy insides of the burrata. Drizzle over peaches. Finish with micro greens, olive oil and Zupan’s Murray River Salt.

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Pickled Peach, Micro Greens and Burrata Salad with Zupan’s Murray River Salt

And there you have it…three perfectly balanced and delicious burrata salads. Now go forth and impress your friends with these three easy and yummy salads and good luck – remember, you can’t have just one!

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