Starters set the expectations for the rest of the meal. They can be cold, warm, spicy but never filling. That is where most hosts go wrong. They dish up a big starter and are surprised that so much food is left over at the end.
The advantage with cold starters is that they can be well prepared in advance.
600g crab meat (try not to use the canned ones – it’s too wet) I buy my crabmeat from the Good Fish Shop
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp sherry
2 tbsp fresh parsley
1 tbsp chives
1 cup breadcrumbs
salad leaves for plating
1 egg yolk,
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp spring onions, finely chopped or minced
2 tbsp capers, drained and chopped finely
4 tbsp gherkins, drained and chopped finely
For the crab cakes
Remove all shells that might still be in the meat. In a bowl, combine the egg yolk, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, sherry, herbs and breadcrumbs. Season to taste. Add the crab meat carefully – you don’t want the crabmeat too small. Divide the mixture into 8 portions or more if you want them smaller. Form the mixture into rounds and place on a tray on waxed paper and cover with another layer of paper. Chill for at least an hour.
For the tartar sauce
In a bowl, whisk the egg yolk until smooth. Add the vinegar, mustard and season well. Whisk until well combined. Slowly whisk in the oil. Combine well. Add the lemon juice, finely chopped spring onions, gherkins and parsley. Mix well. Season to taste. Cover and chill.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Place the chilled crab cakes carefully in the pan and fry until slightly browned and turn carefully to brown the other side (you can also brush the cakes with oil or melted butter and place under a hot grill).
Serve the cakes with a dollop of tartar sauce and some salad leaves.
Pair with a German Riesling.
For more of Elke's recipes see www.biasasta.blogspot.com.