Showing posts with label Jersey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jersey. Show all posts

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Mini Party Crab Cakes

Heavy on the crabmeat with a few toasted fresh bread crumbs and an egg to hold them together, these mini party crab cakes are seasoned lightly with just green onion, salt and pepper, so the crab shines through.

Food Lust People Love: Heavy on the crabmeat with a few toasted fresh bread crumbs and an egg to hold them together, these mini party crab cakes are seasoned lightly with just green onion, salt and pepper, so the crab shines through.

Way back in the Sixties, my husband’s grandparents made a decision that blesses us to this day. They sold up their home in England and retired to the island of Jersey in the English Channel. They bought a house that is square and solid and will probably outlast us all. It’s not fancy but it is comfortable and we like to head here every chance we get. 

Yes, even as you read this, we are preparing to celebrate Christmas in Jersey and the refrigerator is full of special treats, like Jersey cream, butter and milk from genuine Jersey cows! Man, I love this place! I mean, just look at it! This view is a two-minute walk from our front door. And down below, it's a gorgeous white sand beach.

Since Jersey is an island, fresh seafood is plentiful. One of our favorite lunches is simplicity itself. There’s salad and bread, sure, and there must be chilled white or rosé wine, but the focus of the meal is large brown crabs or as they are known on the island, chancre crabs. Everybody gets one to hammer and pick at. These are large guys and they have a lot of meat in them!

Their meat is also perfect for making crab cakes. I must confess that I am a crab cake purist. A little toasted breadcrumbs, some green onions, salt and pepper, plus an egg for binding. That’s it. No dipping them in stuff and adding more breadcrumbs to the outside. No frying in a lot of oil. And definitely, definitely, no Old Bay spices! 

I know those are traditional in a lot of places but I want to taste the CRAB, not mustard, paprika, celery salt, bay leaf, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, mace, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, and ginger. What a mouthful. Go ahead, leave me a comment about how fabulous Old Bay is and I’ll surely thank you for stopping by, and I hope we can still be friends, but I say bring on the crabby tasting crab cakes!

These little guys are perfect for serving as an appetizer, straight, just as they are. Or pop them on to some pretty greens tossed with a light vinaigrette for a salad starter, perfect for any dinner party. They can be pan-fried ahead of time and rewarmed in the oven, or just formed into cakes and chilled, then cooked as guests arrive and passed 'round hot.

Mini Party Crab Cakes

Nowadays pasteurized fresh crabmeat can be found in the refrigerator section of most supermarkets and will last for ages unopened. Since the other ingredients are staples in almost any kitchen, last minute guests can pop by and you can have these babies ready to serve in very little time.

Ingredients for about 20 crab cakes
1.1 lbs or 500g crab meat
1-2 slices fresh brown bread
Large bunch green onions
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
Drizzle olive oil – for the pan

Toast your bread in a warm oven to dry it out, then use a food processor to make it into bread crumbs. Ideally, you’d like to end with about 2/3 cup or 60g of crumbs. Bread slices vary in size so use your judgment about how many to toast.

Pick through the crabmeat carefully to remove any bits of shell that might have been missed.

Chop your green onions – just the green bits – into small pieces.

Combine all of the ingredients – except the oil - in a bowl and mix well.

Cover a large plate with cling film. This will make it easier to remove your crab cakes because you can lift the cling film to tip the cakes up so you can get under them, if necessary.

Dampen your hands with water so the mixture doesn’t stick to them. Scoop a couple of tablespoons of the crab into your wet hands and mold your crab cakes, setting them on the cling film covered plate. Keep your hands damp or the crab will start to stick!

At this point, you can chill them, covered with more cling film to cook later.

Or warm a non-stick pan over a medium heat and drizzle in a little olive oil.

Fry the crab cakes a few at a time for just a few minutes on each side, until they are golden on both sides.

Get two pans going if you need them done quicker and you can multitask!

If you aren’t passing them right over to your waiting guests, remove the cakes to a foil-lined baking pan and keep them warm in a very slow oven. They can also be chilled at this point and rewarmed later in a medium oven.

Twenty little crab cakes all in a row. 

Food Lust People Love: Heavy on the crabmeat with a few toasted fresh bread crumbs and an egg to hold them together, these mini party crab cakes are seasoned lightly with just green onion, salt and pepper, so the crab shines through.


Pin these Mini Party Crab Cakes!

Food Lust People Love: Heavy on the crabmeat with a few toasted fresh bread crumbs and an egg to hold them together, these mini party crab cakes are seasoned lightly with just green onion, salt and pepper, so the crab shines through.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Jersey Royals with Mint #FoodieExtravaganza

Freshly dug Jersey Royal potatoes, boiled to tender perfection with mint and lavished with butter, are the perfect side dish to accompany any meal. Or just eat them alone, out of the bowl, with a spoon. 

When our Foodie Extravaganza theme of potatoes was chosen for August, I knew exactly what I was going to share: how to cook and best enjoy Jersey Royal potatoes. Now, if you can't get these where you live, you can substitute another thin-skinned new potato. But if you ever have the chance at some real Jersey Royals, don't let it get away! The official website says you can only buy them in the United Kingdom or in the Channel Islands, but my local grocery store in Dubai imported a number of kilos earlier this year.

A little history
Jersey, a small island in the English Channel, is well known, at least on the European side of the Atlantic, for growing wonderful potatoes, and they've been doing it for centuries. By 1879 many varieties of potatoes were grown on the island but that particular spring, up sprouted a plant that produced a unique kidney shaped tuber and it was duly dubbed the Jersey Royal Fluke. Ever since, Jersey Royals – the only potato with an official EU Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status - have been planted by hand on Jersey and fertilized with the nutrient rich seaweed, called vraic, which the tides deposit with regularity on the gleaming shores. Many attribute the fresh taste of Jersey Royals to this organic fertilizer.

A little personal history
My husband Simon’s grandparents moved to the island from England back in the 1960s, choosing to retire there, I’m sure, for myriad reasons, not the least of which was its tax-free status, proximity to the UK and its incredible natural beauty and abundant fresh produce. The first time I visited, summer of 1992 it was, we were living in Paris so we sped to Rennes on the snazzy TGV bullet train, hopped a regional train to St. Malo on the Brittany coast and then rode the waves on the ferry over to Jersey, hauling luggage, a travel cot and our 18-month-old toddler. But that fraught journey is a story for another day. Arriving on the island made it all worthwhile.

One sneak peek of the beauty. This is the view from the headland two minutes walk from our home.
I can't get enough of the gorgeous purple heather and the deep blue sea.

Simon’s delightfully eccentric Uncle John met us at the port and we sped home through the tight lanes, salty wind gusting through the open windows, his rattling old Volvo narrowly missing the ancient stone walls at almost every turn. We passed St. Helier, the main city on our right, bustling with shoppers and business folks. Farther along, beautiful St. Aubin’s Bay reflected the brilliant blue sky on our left, the summer sun highlighting Elizabeth Castle and brave swimmers paddling in the chilly water while families built sandcastles on the golden beach. We took a sharp right turn up a hill then nipped in to the left into a tiny gap in the great walls I would barely have noticed if we hadn’t turned. It was the Lucas Brothers farm shop where Uncle John bought all his vegetables – crisp cabbage, just dug carrots, beets and onions, fresh picked leafy greens and French beans among other things and, of course, Jersey Royal potatoes, the protective dirt still clinging to their paper thin skins.

Last week I was in Jersey, as I have been many times over the last 23 years, turning sharply in to Lucas Brothers farm shop two times in only three days, to buy Jersey Royals, and more Jersey Royals. Because when you are on the island during Royal season – April through July generally, depending on weather – that is what you want to eat. And, as far as tradition is concerned, there is only one way to cook them that lets the gorgeous natural taste of the Royals shine through. Many thanks to our next-door neighbor and Jersey cook extraordinaire, Mary, who taught me this so many years ago.

Jersey Royal potatoes, at room temperature
Few sprigs fresh mint
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Proper Jersey Royals still have all the dirt attached because it protects the tender skin and keeps the potatoes from getting bruised.

Rub the Royals by hand under some cool water to remove the dirt and any papery skins that are loose.

Put them in a large pot and cover with fresh water. Add in the sprigs of mint and some salt. I’ve since read on the internet that some folks advocate using seawater but I’ve never gone that far.

Bring the pot to a boil and then cook over a medium flame until a sharp knife poked in the Royals goes in easily, about 20 minutes.

Drain the Royals and add in a large chunk of fresh butter. Don't be shy here. It's Royal season, a time for generosity of spirit and extra butter.

Sprinkle with additional salt, a few good grinds of fresh black pepper and stir gently.

Garnish with more mint, if desired. Put the butter on the table for anyone who wants to add more to their Royals. If it’s fresh Jersey butter, I’m guaranteeing they will.


Are you a potato fan? Check out all the lovely potato dishes my Foodie Extravaganza friends are sharing today.

Foodie Extravaganza is where we celebrate obscure food holidays or cook and bake together with the same ingredient or theme each month. Many thanks to this month's host, Kathleen from Fearlessly Creative Mammas who honored her Idaho heritage by inviting us to share our favorite potato recipes.

Posting day is always the first Wednesday of each month. If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you!

If you're a reader looking for delicious recipes check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out HERE.