Bon Temps Crab Cakes with Rémoulade

by Chef Mark Tafoya

Who needs boring old tartar sauce when you can “laissez les bon temps rouler” with this classic Louisiana sauce? A rémoulade is like a vinaigrette, but jazzed up Bourbon Street-style with Creole mustard, capers and cornichons. It’s the perfect complement to our spicy crab cakes. Make the effort to prepare or buy fresh lump crab meat and you’ll be rewarded with the best possible texture of crab cake.

Makes 12 cakes, 6 servings

Ingredients

For the rémoulade:
3 tablespoons Creole mustard
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon paprika
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons chopped capers
2 tablespoons chopped cornichons
2 tablespoons grated horseradish, fresh or prepared
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1/3 cup finely chopped chives
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Worcestershire sauce, to taste
Tabasco sauce, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the crab cakes:
2 large eggs well beaten
½ cup finely diced celery
1 tablespoon Creole mustard
1 teaspoon red hot pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
½ cup finely chopped scallions
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound lump crab meat, picked over
1 cup bread crumbs, (1/2 cup reserved for dredging)
Vegetable oil for frying

Preparation

Prepare the rémoulade:
Put the mustard, vinegar and paprika in a mixing bowl. Blend with a whisk and add the oil gradually. Beat briskly to emulsify the sauce, then add the remaining ingredients and stir well to blend. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve the crab cakes. (This sauce can be made ahead and kept refrigerated for up to a week.)

Make the crab cakes:
In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, celery, mustard, Old Bay seasoning, pepper flakes, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, scallions, ½ cup of the bread crumbs, salt and pepper and blend well. Gently fold in the crab meat to combine, being careful not to break up the lumps of crab. Divide the mixture into 12 equal portions and shape them into patties. Dredge them lightly in the remaining bread crumbs.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. When the oil shimmers, sauté the crab cakes for 2-3 minutes on each side or until they develop a golden brown crust. Drain on paper towels and serve with rémoulade sauce while still hot.

[Chef’s Note: Fry the crab cakes in batches, a few at a time, so as not to crowd the pan. You want them to fry quickly and develop a nice crust, so the oil must be very hot. Carefully lift them out of the pan with a spatula when done so they don’t fall apart.]
Recipe by Mark Tafoya

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