Crab cakes with herb salad
We have been back at work nearly one month and after a day in the office, my evenings are a balance of fresh air and spending a little time in the kitchen. I say little because my weeknight dinners are always simple, they are colourful salads with the addition of seasonal fruit, a handful of nuts or seeds and chicken, venison or fish, flashed in a pan or on the grill.
I casually met Nigella Lawson on Monday night, well the truth is she signed my book and I very nervously (not casual at all) thanked her for inspiring us to cook whatever the heck we want. I was mesmerised by her flawless complexion and I hung on her every lovely word about cooking and eating. One resonating message was around removing the pressure associated with cooking; hence her new book titled “Simply Nigella”. Because of my background in cooking, people often say “you must cook amazing meals at home”, a nervous laugh followed by a twinge of guilt and I think, if you only knew. Nigella told me (and the other 799 people in the room) that the kitchen should be a pleasurable experience and if you are having a rough day, why make it rougher by cooking something complex?
Another Nigella-ism was that one should only apologise once for a disappointing meal. There’s just no limit to how many times I can apologise, I’ll even carry on the next day if I have to. And even when I’m semi-impressed with myself, I’ll then go on to pick the meal apart, identifying what could be improved for next time. This has to stop, it’s boring and it really is a wonder people accept my dinner invitations at all.
After being away from home, Nigella goes straight to her kitchen, even before taking her coat off…me too. I think by adopting a few of Nigella’s food philosophies it may make the kitchen a better, kinder place.
Serves 4 as an entree (2 cakes per person)Crab cakes
600g good quality canned crab meat
1 free range egg, lightly beaten
½ cup fresh egg mayonnaise (made with a generous amount of Dijon mustard and lime juice)
3 spring onions, finely sliced
2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped or ¼ cup pickled ginger (I used both)
3 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
½ cup coriander stalks, finely chopped
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 tbsp fish sauce
Fine polenta for coating
Cucumber, herb and ginger salad
1 telegraph cucumber, sliced finely into ribbons
6 baby radishes, sliced finely
1 cup coriander leaves
½ cup fresh dill sprigs
1 cup fresh egg mayonnaise
Lime slices or wedges
1. Strain the tinned crab meat and then empty the meat into a clean tea towel. Use the tea towel to squeeze out all excess moisture from the crab meat.
2. Lightly beat the egg and add to the crab meat.
3. To the fresh egg mayonnaise add the spring onions, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, coriander and lime zest and juice and fish sauce.
4. Fold the mayonnaise mixture through the crab meat and egg mixture.
5. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 1 hour.
6. While the crab mixture is chilling, prepare the salad. On plates assemble the cucumber, radish, coriander, dill and pickled ginger.
8. Form cakes with the crab mixture and coat the cakes lightly in polenta.
9. Cook the crab cakes for 10 minutes each side on either the grill or griddle of your DCS grill, set to medium.
10. Serve the crab cakes on the salad, with a side of fresh egg mayonnaise and fresh lime slices or wedges.