Friday, 3 September 2010

C is for... Canapes: ceviche and crab cakes


I thought canapes would be a fun "C" - all beginning with the letter of the day of course (otherwise it would  have been a bit of a cop out). I had envisioned everyone wandering about or sitting on sofas with a glass in their hand while nibbling away, but my guests chose to be seated at the table. This had the effect of making the canapes feel like a never ending story of starters. Not a bad thing at all, as I'm sure the sensible among you will agree.


In my first Alphabet Soup post, when I outlined the rules for this challenge, I mentioned that the man I share my life and my kitchen with is allergic to fish. Initially, for this reason, I'd ruled out ceviche as it is usually made with raw white fish (just the thing he is most allergic to in all the world), but then I had an epiphany. Scallops! He's not allergic to scallops and they are probably more delicious than most white fish put together - I might have been overstating it a trifle there, but they are certainly very fine specimens of the sea.

Ceviche is a Peruvian dish using raw fish, or, in this case, scallops, which are "cooked" by the acid of citrus fruit. The citric acid, in addition to adding flavour, causes the proteins in the seafood to become denatured, which pickles or "cooks" the fish without heat. For this reason it is absolutely essential that the fish/ scallops you use are fresh and have been properly cleaned.

10 large scallops, diced (with or without the coral, depending on personal preference or availability).
1/2 - 1 medium red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 - 2 shallots, finely chopped
The juice of 2 - 3 limes
The juice of 1 small orange
A large bunch of coriander, washed, dried and finely chopped
1/2 a cucumber, with the seeds removed and finely diced
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Place all the ingredients into a lidded tupperware box and place in the fridge to marinate for between 1 and 4 hours, stirring every now and then to ensure all the scallops get properly "cooked".

Crab Cakes

As these crab cakes were destined as canapes, I made them into golf ball sized bites and served them with wedges of lime for the guests to squeeze over if they wanted to.

1 large dressed crab
2 cloves of garlic
4 spring onions, washed and trimmed
2 tsp wasabi
2 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
the grated zest of 1 lime
1/2 red chilli, de-seeded
2 heaped tbsp rice flour

Blitz the garlic, spring onions and chilli in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the other ingredients and pulse until the mixture becomes a thick, doughy paste. At this point, you can scrape the mixture out into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge for a few hours to allow the flavous to marry, but if time demands, they're still perfectly delicious if made immediately. When you're ready to serve, roll golf ball sized patties of the crab mixture in your hands and drop them in a frying pan with  a splash of hot sunflower/ vegetable oil in it. Fry off the crab cakes in batches, ensuring you don't overcrowd the pan or the temperature of will cool down too much and they'll end up, Drain them on some kitchen paper before transferring on to a serving plate and serving with lime wedges.

* I don't know how to put accents on letters on blogger.

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