No-sweat Cooking, Day 18

Herbed Crab Salad-Stuffed Avocados

31 dishes, 31 days – I’m cooking my way through Melissa Clark‘s “No-Sweat Cooking” from the August issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. And to those of you who made your way over here via, welcome!

I love avocado in just about any form, so I was looking forward to trying these Herbed Crab Salad-Stuffed Avocados and they did not disappoint. Our avocados were on the small side so we have a good amount of the crab salad left over, but that’s hardly a bad thing – I’m sure it will be great on a sandwich or a mound of crisp greens… or maybe we just need to buy more avocados.

Get the recipe: Herbed Crab Salad-Stuffed Avocados

Little luxuries

Dinner:  February 26, 2008

It’s always a drag getting caught up at work after time away, but we got a bit of good news yesterday which melted my stress right away. I didn’t have anything specific planned for dinner, so when I swung through the market at Grand Central to pick up provisions, I decided to splurge a bit. I picked up a pound of lump crab meat and a container of crème fraiche at Wild Edibles, remembering the box of frozen artichoke hearts at home in the freezer, with thoughts of combining them in a rich and creamy gratin. I took the ‘chokes out to thaw when I arrived home and got to work on the rest of the dish. I spooned the crème fraiche into a large bowl and lightened it with the juice of half a Meyer lemon. I seasoned it with a bit of kosher salt and added a copious amount of chopped fresh herbs – thyme, chervil and chives. I picked through the crab meat and added that to the bowl, then added my thawed, drained artichoke hearts, folding the mixture gently. I divided it into two buttered baking dishes and topped each serving with some grated Fontina cheese, then baked them in a 400 degree oven until they were browned and bubbly – about 25 minutes or so. This gratin was definitely luxurious and very good, though next time I think I’ll go a little heavier on the lemon juice to balance out the creaminess of the crab.

Crab Cakes, Artichoke and White Bean Salad

crab cakes artichoke white bean salad

Mike and I started our last meal at Dressler with a delicious warm artichoke salad, and since that night I have wanted to try to recreate it at home. I love the combination of crab and artichokes, so I thought the salad would make a nice accompaniment to crabcakes. My version of the salad wasn’t quite as good as the original – one of my artichoke bottoms broke in half and the dressing needed a little more zip – but it was good enough that I’ll attempt it again.

Artichoke and White Bean Salad

2 artichokes
2 lemons
1 can cannellini or great northern beans
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup tiny greens

Trim the artichokes down and remove the choke – you want to be left with a little bowl-shaped piece of the bottom/heart for each one. Cut one lemon in half and squeeze it into a pot of water, then throw the halves in. Place the artichokes into the pot, cover and bring to a boil. Cook the artichokes until they are tender, then drain them and set them aside.

Halve and juice the remaining lemon, add salt and pepper and whisk in the olive oil. Drain and rinse the beans and toss them with the dressing. Mound beans on top of the artichokes, top with greens and drizzle a little bit of remaining dressing over the top.

Crab Cakes

1 lb. crab meat
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup shallot, diced
3 eggs
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Several dashes of hot pepper sauce
1/2 to 1 cup panko, plus additional for coating
Oil for frying

Beat eggs in a large bowl, then mix in mustard, Old Bay, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Add crab meat, bell pepper and shallot and gently combine. Add as much panko as you need to the mixture so that it holds together when formed. Form into six cakes and coat the outsides of each with panko, gently pressing it in. Fry cakes in batches in hot oil, then drain on paper towels.