Listen, I know that I bought the crabs.. I did however forage the Samphire and the Wild Fennel – The Wild Fennel came from just outside my hotel on the Cromer coast! But crab, Cromer or not, is a Wild Food and a very tasty one at that!! One that I will endeavour to catch.. Eventually!
1 Egg yolk
For the Mayonnaise:
2 Free Range, Organic Egg Yolks
2 Tbsp Cider Vinegar
100ml Sunflower Oil
Juice of Lemon
Small bunch of Wild Fennel Fronds
Small bunch of Marsh Samphire
Serves 2 with plenty of left over Mayonnaise!
Right lets get on with it, first the Wild Fennel and Samphire Mayonnaise. If you haven’t ever made Mayonnaise before make this one. It will leave you with the all over warm proud feeling of.. I did that! The Mayonnaise is yellow because of the Rape Seed Oil and its flavour is heightened to new levels by the Sea vegetables and wild herbs.
Before we start get a small saucepan of boiling water on the stove, season it lightly with salt and blanch the Samphire for 2 minutes, place the blanched Samphire on a tea towel and allow to cool.
Now you’ll need a blender. Place the Egg yolks – I used amazing eggs that had brilliant orange yolks - in the blender. Add the salt, Vinegar and 1 Tbsp of the Rape Seed Oil and blend until well combined. Now leaving the blender motor running add the remaining oil in a fine trickle (not to much at once or it will split!).
This will take a little while but the tip is the slower the better!! When close to completion (running out of oil) squeeze in your lemon juice, blend for a little longer and then check the seasoning (add your Black Pepper now). The sauce should be thick and sumptuous and totally calorific and delicious. When the Mayonnaise is ready, chop the Samphire into 2cm strands and finely chop the Wild Fennel fronds stir these through the Mayonnaise and then decant into a serving bowl – this will sit in the fridge for ages.. Well as long as you can keep your hands off of it!
The crab cakes now have to be prepared, these can be made in advance and sat in the fridge so make a perfect dinner party treat.
Peel and boil the potatoes in salted water, cook until tender and then mash with a fork into a puree. Whilst the potatoes are still warm add the butter, cream, finely chopped green chilli, chopped Parsley, finely diced shallots and plenty of seasoning. Leave to cool entirely.
Now, depending on whether you have bought your crabs dressed or not you have to prepare them ready for the cakes. If they are not dressed crack the claws and shell and remove all of the brown and white meat making sure that there is no shell hiding within the separated meat.
Now a quick assesment - yuo want more crab meat than potato probably 70% crab meat, 30% potato. Before you add your brown meat to the potato mix make sure there is enough potato to hold the cakes together and not mask all of that beautiful crab meat.
Take the brown meat and stir into the now cool mash potato along with egg yolk. Now with the white meat gently stir it into the cakes trying not to break it up to much. When nicely combined, using your hands mould the cakes into rounds and then gently flatten. Depending on the amount of mix you have you can make 4 to 6. Plate the crab cakes up, cover them and place in the fridge (min 30 minutes or until ready).
To cook couldn’t be simpler, dust the crab cakes a little seasoned flour and then in a little Olive Oil and over a medium / high heat cook the crab cakes for 5 minutes on each side until lightly crispy. Serve immediately with a Wild Rocket salad and lashings of the home made Mayonnaise.
The cakes are plump and crabby, with a crispy flavoursome edge. The seafood flavour resonates through the cakes and needs a rich but sharp flavour to accompany them, the Wild Fennel and Samphire Mayonnaise is perfect for this!! In fact the Mayonnaise is a perfect sauce for any sea food as the lemon juice and green sea vegetables combine with the rich creaminess to make a simply divine sauce. Perfect for these light and delicious cakes!
I was lucky enough to visit Cromer and take a few of these Wild tasty treats with me. I was even more lucky to have Wild Fennel growing outside my hotel and Samphire in the fridge which combined beautifully to make this amazing starter! You can use any type of crab for this recipe so you have no excuse! You will thank me!
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