So the local fish truck delivery from ABSeafood showed up, and as usual had some pretty spectacular fresh fish. I had not tried their fresh never frozen crab, so I thought I would give it a shot, and try to make something a little like myself. Uhem, different. In a good way. 😉
The basic ingredients are as follows:
- Fresh Blue Crab
- Buttermilk powder
Sous Vide time and temp are 128 degrees for 20 min, and about 5min fry time
I have had quite a few crab cakes in my day. I do have to say the best were in Baltimore, right on the harbor at a place called the Rusty Scupper. From the looks of the place, I didnt really expect much. I seemed like an upscale chain restaurant, which I believe it actually is. I was completely blown away by the crab cake that I was served there though. Never before had I had a crab cake that was more crab than filling.
So with this beautiful crab meat in hand, I wanted to see if I could make a crab cake that had NO fillers. Since I have been playing a good deal with Transglutiminaise, I wanted to see if it could help out in this application as well.
I started by picking my jumbo lump crab meat over for any undesirable shell bits.
I love garlic butter with shellfish and I wanted to try and encorporate some of that flavor directly into my cakes. I sauteed some fresh farmers market garlic in some good quality butter then added and a tiny bit of minced up dill for color then vacuum packed it into a pouch, and froze it so I could cut it into small cubes.
I wanted to add a hint of smokey flavor to my cakes, so I fashioned a cold smoker with my crab in a bowl covered by foil, set in another bowl of ice water to keep it chilled. I used my smoking gun (a birthday present from my late wife, thank you Gina my love).
I mixed some transglutaminase and a little buttermilk powder together. Dairy powder adds some protein in a powder form and aids in the transglutaminase’s ability to bind meat proteins. The Activia RM transglutaminase that I use comes with some dry milk powder already mixed in to aide in the distribution of the transglutaminase and the additional meat protein adheasion properties, but I thought that the subtle twang of the buttermilk powder might contrast the sweet crab a little and highlight the flavor of the crab.
I added the chopped up frozen garlic butter, transglutaminase buttermilk powder mixture to the crab and gently folded taking care to get it well dispersed, but not break up those beautiful jumbo lump crab piecs.
I formed a rectangle shape from the mixture on a sheet of industrial food wrap film, then rolled into a tight sausage shape.
I then put the “crab log” into a vacuum bag and sealed to help compress the log together to help it all bind together.
I Sous Vide the log at 128 degrees for 20 minutes to allow the transglutaminase to work its magic, and let all of the flavors marry together.
Here we have the crab log after shocking down in ice water, then about 15 minutes in the freezer to help ensure it holds together through the slicing process, which was a good idea in the end (more to follow on why later).
Here I have sliced the log into about 1.5″ thick medallions. you will notice that the slice that came out of the very center (least frozen part) actually came apart a little.
I pan fried the medallions in some butter until a nice crust was formed on either side.
They came out lovely. Sweet, moist, and tender. the flavors worked very well together. You could taste everything that went into them, yet nothing competed with the flavor of the beautiful crab meat.
Now theres nothing left to do but eat!