Crab cakes with Basil-Jalapeno Aioli

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Dungeness crab seasons ends this week, but there’s still time to get in one more crab recipe before it’s over. This crab cake recipe features corn, basil, and jalapenos, making it a perfect bridge between cold weather and warm weather cooking. Serve these as an elegant appetizer or as a light dinner alongside salad.

(Looking for a more classic crab cake recipe? I got you.)

Crab cakes with basil-jalapeno aioli

Ingredients:

For the crab cakes:

3 teaspoons unsalted butter
4 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound Dungeness crab meat
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
1 egg
3 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
Pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal

For the aioli:

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped basil leaves
2 teaspoons capers, drained and chopped
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt
Pepper

1. In a small skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the green onions and garlic. Cook and stir for 3 minutes or until softened. Place the mixture in a large bowl. Add the crabmeat, corn, bread crumbs, egg, mayonnaise, mustard, parsley, and pepper to taste; mix well. Divide the mixture into 12 portions and form into 1/2-inch-thick patties. Place the patties on a plate and chill for 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together all of the aioli ingredients and set aside.

3. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons butter and the oil over medium-high heat. Dredge each crab cake in the cornmeal, turning to coat evenly. Sear the cakes for 5 to 6 minutes per side or until golden brown. Serve crab cakes hot with Basil-Jalapeno Tartar Sauce.

Caspian-Style Sweet and Sour Fish

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My memories of visiting Iran always included a trip to the Caspian Sea: lush seascapes and mountains, friendly faces, and oh, the food! Fresh fish, grilled eggplant, young garlic, rich eggs — the food of the Caspian stays with you long after you visit.

This simple-to-prepare fish entree takes me back to these trips. In this recipe, catfish takes the place of the delicate white fish you’d find in the Caspian region. It’s glazed with a sweet and sour garlicy sauce that’s perfect with rice. I like to serve this alongside a green salt salad for a complete meal.

Caspian sweet and sour fish

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon golpar (ground Angelica seeds)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 catfish fillets (about 2 pounds)
3 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 cup white wine vinegar mixed with 2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1. Prepare the dry seasoning: In a wide, shallow bowl, mix together the salt, pepper, turmeric, flour, and golpar and set aside.

2. Rinse the fish and pat dry. Dredge both sides of the fish in the seasoning and arrange on a plate.

3. Heat the oil in a wide saute pan over high heat until hot. Sear the fish until brown on both sides, about 3 minutes for each side.

4. Reduce heat to low and add the garlic. Saute the garlic for 1 minute.

5. Add the vinegar mixture and simmer for 6 minutes over low heat until the fish is tender.

6. Garnish with parsley and serve with rice.

Trout Toast with Scrambled Eggs

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My scrambled eggs have always been rubbery. Scratch that — rubbery and bland.

Until I tried this revelation of a recipe. Adapted from Bon Appetit, these eggs are rich and oh-so-creamy. The secret ingredient? Creme fraiche. Paired along lightly smoked trout and an acidic arugula salad, this makes a perfect decadent brunch or dinner. This, my friends, is California cuisine at its finest.

Trout toast with soft scrambled eggs

Ingredients:

8 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more
6 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided
4 slices sourdough bread
3 tablespoons creme fraiche
1 skin-on, boneless smoked trout fillet (about 5 ounces), skin removed, flesh broken into small pieces
1 lemon, halved
Pepper
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped dill
5 ounces baby arugula (about 4 cups)
2 teaspoons olive oil

1. Crack eggs into a bowl and add salt, whisking until no streaks remain.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium. As soon as foaming subsides, add 2 slices of bread and cook until golden brown underneath, about 3 minutes. Transfer to plates, cooked side up. Repeat with another tablespoons butter and remaining 2 slices of bread.

3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter in reserved skillet over medium-low. Once butter is foaming, cook egg mixture, stirring with a heatproof rubber spatula in broad sweeping motions, until some curds begin to form but eggs are still runny, about 2 minutes. Stir in creme fraiche and cook, stirring occasionally, until eggs are barely set, about 2 minutes.

4. Spoon eggs over toast and top with trout. Finely grate lemon zest from one of the lemon halves over trout, then squeeze juice over toast. Season with pepper; scatter green onions and dill on top.

5. Squeeze juice from remaining lemon half into a bowl. Add arugula and drizzle with oil; season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Serve alongside toasts.

Thai-Style Curried Crab

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If you’ve been reading this blog for more than five minutes you probably know that I love Dungeness crab. Come November every year, I eagerly await reports that crabbing season has begun, so I can make oven-baked crab, steamed crab, deviled eggs with crab, crab curry, chili crab — you get the picture.

When I was in Chiang Mai a couple of years ago, I tasted a mild yellow crab curry that was out of this world. Soft and eggy, it was like a warm blanket of crab and spices (okay, that sounds kind of weird, but bear with me). I wanted to recreate that taste at home and I finally nailed it here. This is not just one of my new favorite crab recipes — it’s one of my favorite recipes, period.

Freshly shelled crab is essential here. Go for the good stuff.

Thai stir-fried yellow crab curry

Ingredients:

3 eggs
1/2 cup half and half
1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Thai seasoning sauce
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 pound crabmeat
1 green onion, cut into 2-inch slices
Ground pepper
2 cups baby spinach

1. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, half and half, fish sauce, oyster sauce, Thai seasoning sauce, and 2 tablespoons of the curry powder.

2. Heat a wok over high heat and add the oil. Add the onion, sugar, and the remaining 1 teaspoon curry powder and stir-fry until the onion is soft and translucent. Reduce the heat, add the egg mixture, and stir until it resembles a soft custard, about 1 minute. Add the crabmeat and 1 cup of spinach and toss to coat the sauce. Remove from the heat, add the green onion and a pinch of pepper, then toss to combine.

3. Spread the remaining cup of spinach onto a serving platter and top with the curried crab and serve warm.

Deviled Eggs with Dungeness Crab

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Every year, denizens of the Bay Area eagerly await a very special season. The weather is getting chillier, the nights are getting longer, and a very special something is along the way: Dungeness crab.

Outsiders may ridicule our obsession, but they haven’t tasted the sweet, juicy, tender delicacy that is Dungeness. And no holiday season is complete without a few crabs at the table, right?

This appetizer brings together Dungeness crab, which everyone loves, and deviled eggs, which everyone also loves, unless you have no taste. (Or maybe you haven’t had a good deviled egg? I was once there, my friend. I understand the struggle.)

Creamy, salty-sweet, and easy to prepare ahead of time, these get eaten up in an instant. You might want to make extra.

Deviled Eggs with Dungenness Crab

Ingredients:

1 dozen eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 minced shallot
2 tablespoons snipped chives, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
Salt
1/4 pound Dungeness crab
Salmon roe, for garnish (optional)

1. Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a saucepan, cover the eggs with water by 1 inch and bring to a boil. Cover and remove the pan from the heat. Let stand for 10 minutes. Drain the eggs and transfer to the ice water bath to cool completely.

2. Peel and halve the eggs lengthwise. Transfer the yolks to a medium bowl and mash with the back of a spoon. Arrange the egg whites on a platter. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, shallot, 2 tablespoons of chives, parsley, capers, thyme, vinegar and Tabasco to the bowl with the egg yolks and mix until smooth. Season with salt. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag and fill the egg whites. Top each deviled egg with some of the crab and garnish with roe and chives.