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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Spicy Crab Cakes - the real deal

Ok, so a few months ago I posted cod cakes. They're great and a cheaper alternative to crab, which will empty your wallet and only leave you wanting more. The cod cakes are greek and yummy - these are CRAB, asian style, and unreal. Another Ming Tsai specialty. When I realized that Wilson Farm sold small gold nugget containers of wonderfully fresh lump crab, I lost it. I shamefully admit that we have eaten crab cakes more in the past couple of months then ever in my life combined but they are quite possibly one of the best foods on earth. Here's a great recipe, and they're spicy because, why not!?

2 TB chili garlic paste
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 TB chopped chives
1 tsp honey
Juice of 1 lime

1 lb lump crabmeat (is your mouth watering yet!??)
1 cup flour for dredging
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup panko
2 TB oil

1. In a small bowl, mix half of the chili garlic paste, half the mayo and half of the chives and refrigerate.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining chili paste, mayo and chives with the honey, lime juice, and crabmeat. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Place the flour, eggs, and panko in three separate dishes. Form small patties of the crab mixture and then dip into the flour, eggs, and panko and set aside on a dish. They will be very fragile and you may need to keep squeezing to hold them together. Once their in the pan, they'll firm up.

4. Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Add the oil. Add the cakes and sear on both sides until they brown and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Remember, the crab is already cooked so you're just creating a crust.

5. Serve with the sauce drizzled either on top or underneath. Great with salad!!

Asian Pesto Chicken Salad

For my mom's 60th birthday this year, I got us tickets to go see Ming Tsai cook an elaborate meal. We sat right in front of him, we were his guests for dinner, complete with yummy cocktails, great wine and unbelievable food. He showed us how to do it all and it was undoubtedly one of the most exciting event my mom and I have attended in a very long time. We love this guy! I bought one of his cookbooks and I've been quickly making my way through it. Most of the recent recipes are his and are definitely worth trying -they're easy and great for summer eating...

Asian Pesto
1 jalapeno
2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 TB minced ginger
1/2 cup peanuts
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup packed basil leaves
1/2 cup packed mint leaves
1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves
salt and pepper

Chicken and Orzo
1 cup uncooked orzo
2 boneless chicken breasts
3/4 cups Asian Pesto
1 pt cherry tomatoes, halved
Juice of 1 lemon
1 package of baby spinach

1. Salt and pepper the chicken breasts and either grill (this is highly recommended) or broil in the oven until cooked. When done, cut into small cubes

2. Bring a large saucepan of water to boil and cook the orzo until just tender (about 10 minutes). When done, drain and rinse with cold water.

3. Combine the first 6 ingredients and half of the olive oil in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add the basil, mint and cilantro and blend while slowly adding the rest of the oil. Blend until a thick puree is formed and add salt and pepper.

4. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, orzo, tomatoes and pesto. Add the lemon juice and mix well.

5. Serve on a bed of baby spinach.

Crusty Cod with Spicy Mango Salsa

I'm not always into mixing meat/fish with fruit but this is wonderful...and a great excuse to buy mangos. They're delicious and remind me of my days living in Mali where les mangues were abundant and a crucial part of every day living. This is a great summery dish and very easy for entertaining. We had our friends Leila and Danny over recently and served this with white rice with cilantro and a big salad with lots of avocado. I also made a white sangria...that night remains a bit of a blur but it went great with the meal!
**Make sure to plan this a couple of days in advance - you'll most often need to wait a good 2-3 days to let your mangos ripped - they're rarely sold ripe in the US.

Serves 4:

2 lb cod fillets (halibut or haddock would also work great for this)
1 1/2 cups panko
4 green onions
2 eggs, beaten

3 large, ripe mangos (make sure the flesh is tender) diced
1 red onion, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 TB minced ginger
1 TB garlic chili paste
1/4 cup lime juice
salt and pepper to taste.

1. To dice the mango, slice the mango vertically on both sides of the pit, keeping the skin on. Hold the half with the skin palm side down and with a sharp knife, slice 1/4 in. rows vertically and horizontally. Scoop out the squares with a spoon, digging all the way down to the skin. Repeat with other half so that you have a bowl of mango cubes.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well.

3. Dry your fish fillets with a paper towel and salt and pepper them. Set aside a plate with the panko and sliced green onions and a bowl with the beaten eggs. Dredge the fillets in egg and then in the panko mixture and coat well.

4. Heat a pan to medium high and add a bit of canola oil. Fry the fillets until done - cooked through and panko lightly browned (stick under a heated broiler if they are very thick fillets).

4. Serve with rice and the mango salsa on top.