Crab and Bacon Risotto Cakes

Risotto is an Italian staple.  Easy to make, it can also be made in advance and used for several meals.  Executive Chef, Jeffery Hobbs, has come up with a perfect way to turn leftovers into something new with this inspiring idea to turn your risotto into crab and bacon risotto cakes.

Mmmmm.. Bacon.  and Crab....

Set the sauté pan over medium heat. Add three tablespoons of the butter. Once the butter melts, toss in the onion and cook until soft. Season with a little salt and freshly ground pepper.

Place the risotto in a mixing bowl along with the juice, cheese, bacon, eggs, scallions and tarragon (if using) and onions.

Mix well with a spoon. Add the crab meat and season with salt and pepper. Stir until just combined. Try and keep the crab as whole as possible.

Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions, forming into 1” thick cakes. Place the breadcrumbs on a plate, or use the dirty mixing bowl to keep from washing so many dishes. Lightly coat the cakes by setting in the crumbs, sprinkling some on top, and pressing down lightly. Reserve the cakes on a plate.

Set the sauté pan over medium heat and add half of the remaining butter. After the butter melts and begins to sizzle, add as many cakes as you can without crowding. This means that the crab cakes should not touch and should have around an inch in between them.   It's easiest for this recipe to do three at a time using 2Tbs of butter for batch.

Cook for approximately 2 minutes on each side, or until nice and brown. If browning in batches, keep the cakes on a plate in a low temperature oven, less than 200° F.

Toss the greens with the vinaigrette, season with a little salt and pepper, and divide onto 6 small plates. Place a crab cake on top of each salad and serve.

Unsalted softened butter7 TBS
Yellow Onion, medium, small dice1 each
Cooked Risotto, cooled3 cups
Juice of lemon1 each
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated¼ cup
Bacon Slices, cooked crisp & crumbled6 each
Whole eggs2 each
Scallions, bias cut½ cup
dried tarragon or 1 TBS fresh chopped1 tsp
crab claw meat, pasteurized1 lb
Fresh Bread Crumbs½ cup
Left-Over Orange Vinaigrette½ cup
handfuls of mixed greens6 each
salt and fresh ground pepperto taste

6 servings as an appetizer.

This is a good recipe to use if you have left over risotto from an earlier dish. Plan ahead by making extra and keeping it in the refrigerator.

The bacon can be cooked ahead and kept in a covered container in the refrigerator.

The micro plane grater I suggested is not a necessity, but once you use one you may never go back. There are many different types now, but the original, made for hard cheese, is the best. You can grate cheese by the pound, neatly zest any citrus with ease, create chocolate sprinkles (refrigerate the chocolate first), and powder whole nutmeg and cinnamon stick like a pro.

Substitute grana podano if the parmigiano is too expensive, or if you wish, use your favorite white cheese.

The claw meat does not have to be pasteurized, but if you can find it, it is the easiest to use. If it is not pasteurized, be sure to go through it well to check for shell and cartilage.

Low-Fat Options:
Use Vegetarian Bacon instead of Bacon, use Olive Oil sparingly while cooking instead of the copius amounts of butter listed.  Use 4 egg whites instead of 2 eggs.