Every year my husband Mark and his business partner Don treat us to a holiday dinner. The four of us usually go out to a restaurant but we did things differently in 2020 (COVID!!!!). We had an awesome dinner IN and hired a chef. It was amazing. My recipe for crab cakes with avocado cream is inspired by this fabulous meal. You’ll have to scroll down for the recipe because FIRST I have to tell you about this fantastic four course meal.
Don knew Chef X (Xavier Jones) from the Thirsty Owl Wine Bar and Bistro in Saratoga Springs, NY. Chef X was the Executive Chef there. Don stayed in contact with Chef X after he left Thirsty Owl and had engaged him for private dinners several times. He recommended that we hire him for our holiday dinner. Best decision ever!
Here’s how it works. You choose the proteins you want for four courses. We selected seafood, duck and beef. Then you let him know of any dietary restrictions and allergies. Chef then creates each course. You don’t have to, but you can shop with the Chef if you like. Don wanted to so he and Chef met at our local Whole Foods. Chef X arrived in our kitchen around 3pm to begin prepping for our four course meal.
Let’s just say that I knew it was going to be good when the first thing he did was break down the duck so he could begin rendering the fat to use for our potato dish . . .
Course 1 – Seafood with Avocado Three Ways
We started off our meal with Avocado Three Ways. Beautifully poached lobster and crab were placed on top of a silky avocado cream and then topped with an avocado pico de gallo and served with a slice of avocado lightly dusted with corn meal freshly milled flour and quickly pan fried. I’ve eaten a lot of things and I have never had avocado cream (more about that later).
Course 2 – Scallops with Corn Three Ways
Next up, perfectly cooked scallops with a fresh corn chowder that was topped with chorizo and corn. The scallops were also coated with corn. Using chorizo instead of bacon in the chowder was brilliant!
Course 3 – Duck with Sweet Potato Apple Has
We LOVE duck but prefer it more medium than super rare. Chef X made it perfectly and the hash that was served with it was to die for! I will be attempting to duplicate it for sure. Sweet potatoes and apples cooked perfectly – both the apples and potato were still firm yet tender. Fat rendered from the chorizo gave it a smoky flavor. A dark amber maple syrup swirled on the plate added another layer of sweetness that paired perfectly with the duck.
Course 4 – Filet and Shrimp with Duck Fat Potatoes
By the time we got to this course, I was about ready to say ‘Uncle’. I was getting FULL but when Chef X presented this last course, I found a way to make room. This was definitely a showstopper – potatoes cooked in duck fat (creamy/crispy), topped with sauteed spinach, a perfectly cooked filet and topped with two tender shrimp with beurre monté.
On to the recipe
What I didn’t realize is that we get to KEEP ALL THE LEFTOVERS!!!! After the meal I had a bunch of crab meat and some of the avocado pico de gallo but we had eaten all the avocado cream. CRISIS!!!! I’ve made crab cakes a bazillion times but had no idea how to make the avocado cream. I figured it out. So easy. You will need a blender for this, though.
Chef X is available for private and corporate cooking events and cooking lessons too in New York’s Capital Region and The Berkshires in Massachusetts! The best way to reach him is via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For the crab cakes:
- 2 cups lump crab meat
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (Hellmann's preferably)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped green onion
- 3-4 saltine crackers
- vegetable oil, for cooking
- For the Avocado Cream:
- 1-2 ripe avocados
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2-3 limes for fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional)
DIRECTIONS: To make the crab cakes, in a medium sized bow whisk together mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, egg, Worcestershire sauce, parsley and green onion. Crush the saltines in your hand and add to the bowl. Stir. Let sit for five minutes. Don't leave this step out. After five minutes, gently fold in the crab meat.
Form into four equal sized cakes. You can refrigerate until ready to cook or cook right away. To cook, coat a non-stick pan with oil and pan fry over medium heat until golden brown.
To make the avocado cream, peel and pit the avocados. Place halves in a blender. Add sour cream, garlic, and the juice from two of the limes. If you're using cilantro, add it too. Start blending. If it's thick, add more lime juice or water. If you like it more tangy, add more sour cream.
You can add a dash or two of Old Bay seasoning to the crab cakes but my husband doesn't like it so I leave it out.