Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Crab Tater Tots!

In the final days of our Meat Hiatus, my office hosted a pot-luck lunch in honor of an associate expecting her first child. This is always pretty awesome, because in our research-based setting, we've people from a diverse selection of cultures - and everybody does a pretty good job. I usually make meat, and when pressed to volunteer a dish, I promised crab cakes. I'd ever actually made crab before, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. So, I decided to refer back to my cookbooks for some ideas, and the only one I had available electronically was Michael Symon's Live to Cook. Lo and behold, there was a recipe for something called "Crab Tater Tots." I was sold.

You can find the recipe on page 165 of the cookbook (buy it, it's pretty awesome). Upon closer review, it turns out this is basically a recipe for potato croquettes - and it's pretty straightforward. All you need is some mashed potatoes, decent lump crab meat, eggs, flour, butter, and panko.

Use with good lump crab meat
(Courtesy Heron Point Foods)
Flour, butter and egg for the filling

Melted butter, egg, and water are combined with mashed potatoes. I cheated and bought mine pre-made. The cookbook recommends leftovers, so I felt okay about this. And I probably would have felt okay, even if it didn't. The lump crab is added to the creamy potato mix, formed into quenelles ("2 inch footBALLS" - Michael Symon), and coated with panko. At this  point, my quenelle's were closer to blobs, but they fried fine, and tasted pretty great.  I had my share for dinner, and immediately froze the rest. The next day, I reheated at 350 F or so until warmed through. I was pretty concerned about how well this would work - but they reheated well, and were reasonably crisp. And went really well with both chutney and bacon jam my colleagues had prepared.

Breaded and ready to fry
Mixed with mashed potatoes and crab

You're definitely going to want some kind of sauce - the cripsy/creamy texture is great, and the crab adds a nice, not overwhelming seafoody element, but there's not much seasoning. I'd definitely like to give this a shot with different fillings, and A word of warning - these things can be pretty fragile!

Packed up for the freezer!

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