Crustacean Creations

Crab Puffs, Two Ways
You can either enjoy these crustacean bites either with a crisp exterior and soft interior or cook them up with a super crisp coating while maintaining that softness a Puff is known for. I

Both Crispy and Battered Crab Puffs with Dip

have seen and tasted many variations of Crab Puffs and some of them had a lot to be desired. Many chefs add herbs, spices and other ingredients to bring this all too simple recipe to heights that would make an astronaut dizzy. Even Martha Stewart adds capers to her recipe. Now although I dislike capers with a passion, even if I liked them, they simply don’t belong with crab in any recipe. Let the light that is the subtle and sweet taste of crab shine through. I have added a sauce with this recipe that is perfectly prepared to marry these Crab Puffs, and live happily ever after.

Makes about 2 dozen

1/4 c. butter or margarine
1/4 c. sliced green onion
1/4 c. plus 2 T. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
4 oz. crabmeat
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
1/2 t. grated lemon zest
Cayenne pepper
Salt and ground pepper
3 eggs
1 1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add green onions, and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add flour, and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Add milk and whisk until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook, whisking often, until mixture has completely thickened, about 3 minutes.
Add crabmeat, Parmesan, lemon zest, and a pinch of cayenne. Remove from heat, and stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper and let cool completely in refrigerator.
Whisk eggs in a shallow dish. Place breadcrumbs in another shallow dish. Shape cooled crabmeat mixture into 1-inch balls. Working with 1 ball at a time, coat in beaten egg, then in breadcrumbs. Transfer to rack. Repeat with remaining balls. Let stand, uncovered, in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Heat 4 inches of oil in a large, heavy pot until it reaches 350 degrees F. Working in batches, fry crab balls, turning once, until golden brown, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. (Adjust heat as necessary to keep oil at a steady temperature.) Using a wire-mesh skimmer, transfer crab puffs to paper towels to drain. Serve warm.

You can use pancake batter for this recipe as well for a true Puff experience. Simply prepare 2 c. pancake batter, season with 1/2 t. cayenne pepper and dip the crab balls a few at a time into the batter. Shake off excess and fry in oil a few at a time until golden brown all around. You will have to use a fork or other utensil to “roll” the balls in the oil to evenly fry.

Cucumber Tartar Sauce

1/2 c. mayonnaise or salad dressing
1/2 c. sour cream or plain yogurt
2 T. peeled, seeded, minced cucumber
1 T. cider vinegar
1 t. sugar
1 t. lemon juice
1 t. chopped, dried or fresh chives

Mix all together.