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Seasonal Finds: Key West Pink Shrimp

Shrimp is a staple on my dinner table in the spring as the weather heats up and my body craves lean proteins.  Wild-caught pink shrimp are local to the Florida Keys and are most abundant during the spring months.  In many cases these shrimp are available at the local market just a day after being plucked from the ocean, ensuring the freshest possible product for you and your family.  Florida-raised shrimp can be found at stores across Boca Raton—from Whole Foods and Fresh Market to the local seafood market like Old Dixie Seafood.

I have always felt that freshly fished seafood offers an unmatched quality and flavor in comparison to product that has been frozen for weeks or even months before consumption.  Pink Shrimp are known for their sweet, tender meat.  In having the convenient option to buy local shrimp harvested from the pristine waters of the Florida Keys—South Floridian’s have little excuse to buy frozen.

Here’s a fun fact: nearly 85 percent of the pink shrimp harvested in the United States comes from Florida.  

Key West Pink Shrimp have a beautiful pink color and they turn opaque after cooking.  Their shell color is a product of the coral sand in which they live.  Key West pinks are easy to distinguish as they have a bright pink color when raw, unlike other shrimp varieties whose colors range from brown, grey, or a dull translucent pink.

In my recipe below you will find a classic sautéed shrimp with a kick of garlic and cilantro that amplify the sweet shrimp meat.  Trying adding these shrimp to salad, pasta, risotto, or just enjoy them plain—just don’t forget the fresh lemon slices!

Sautéed Pink Shrimp with Garlic and Cilantro

Ingredients

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely diced

1-pound Key West pink shrimp, peeled and deveined

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

¼ cup loosely packed cilantro leaves

Lemon wedges for serving

Directions

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic, and cook until soft but not browned, 1-2 minutes.  Add shrimp, red-pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring frequently, until shrimp are bright pink and opaque, about 3 minutes.

2. Add lemon juice and cilantro leaves.  Continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Remove from heat; season with salt and pepper.  Serve warm with lemon wedges on the side.

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About Amanda Jane

Amanda Jane is the creator of the food blog Seasonally Jane, a creative space where she shares her love of seasonally inspired cooking through original recipes, photography and writing.  Seasonally Jane celebrates the use of peak-season fruits and vegetables with an emphasis on organic whole foods and unique ingredients. Amanda launched her blog in September 2014 and is based in Lighthouse Point.

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Memorial Day Dishes

Memorial Day is just around the corner, and that means keeping your cool during hot and humid afternoon pool parties. While I don’t believe in sticking to one dietary theory all the time, I do find that seasonal eating can help us feel our best. Because our bodies are always looking for balance, your system has to work extra hard to maintain its internal temperature during extremely hot Florida days.

With that in mind, cooling foods are the perfect way to keep your body balanced when you’re out in the heat. To help you enjoy the parties and save time in the kitchen, here’s a quick and easy recipe, plus a list of my top 10 cooling foods.

Jicama Salad

This summer skip the potato salad and try jicama instead. This root vegetable is very hydrating and has 1/3 the calories and double the fiber of the potato! If you’re note sold, note the other great benefits of this salad: avocado helps lower your blood pressure, cabbage supports your liver (that may be overworking if you are celebrating with cocktails) and red pepper helps boost your system with antioxidants.

Salad Ingredients:

1 cup of organic corn (frozen and thawed is fine)

1 jicama root, peeled and julienned

1 head of purple cabbage, sliced

½ red bell pepper, diced

1 avocado, chopped

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Dressing:

½ cup lime or lemon juice

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic

2 teaspoons sea salt

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons cumin powder

Throw dressing ingredients together in a blender. Mix together with the jicama, pepper cabbage, corn and avocado. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

TOP 10 COOLING FOODS

SAVORY

Cucumbers

Tomatoes

Bell Peppers

Jicama

Celery

SWEET

Watermelon

Honeydew

Grapes

Oranges

Mangoes

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For more from the Green Goddess, click here.

About Alina Z.

Alina Z., aka “The Green Goddess,” is a certified holistic health coach, detox specialist and raw-food chef (she conducts occasional classes at Whole Foods in Boca). Prior to moving to Florida,  Alina hosted her own TV show in Maryland—“Entertaining A to Z”—for people who didn’t have time to cook but wanted to eat healthy. Catch one of her web episodes at eHow.com, visit Alina’s website at alinaz.com, or follow her on Facebook (facebook.com/CoutureFood) or Twitter (@CoutureFood). The Green Goddess blog runs every other Wednesday at bocamag.com.

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Seasonal Finds: Baked Oysters

There are countless reasons to be grateful for living in South Florida—and having access to exceptional seafood is certainly one of them. Like other food categories, some seafood is at its best during specific windows of the year. Take the beloved oyster, which is at its plumpest and richest tasting during its prime time: spring.

There are five species of oysters harvested or sold in the U.S.—Pacific, Kumamoto, Atlantic, European Flat and Olympia—encompassing some 150 varieties (based on where they live, the water they filter and how they are handled). Ultimately, the best-tasting oysters come from the cleanest water. Check your local seafood market for Florida-raised oysters for a truly local taste experience.

Not only are oysters an immunity and energy-boosting treat packed with iron and B vitamins, but their shells are recyclable. Amazingly, oyster shells act as a great garden fertilizer. Their shells contain a high concentration of calcium, which produces strong, healthy plants and also balances the pH level of the soil. Simply crush the leftover shells and distribute them into the garden.

Of course, there is also the popular myth that oysters are the ultimate aphrodisiac—but we’ll let you be the judge.

The most common method of eating oysters is raw and chilled, with cocktail sauce and a squeeze of lemon on top. Another popular way to eat them is “Rockefeller” style, where the oyster is topped with various ingredients such as spinach or bacon—and baked in the oven.

Keeping with this incredibly popular Rockefeller style as a guide, I created a seasonal recipe that sure to make your mouth water: Baked oysters with shaved asparagus and celery salt. In this recipe, seasonal spring asparagus and celery make for a super-fresh topping on the succulent warm oyster meat.

This recipe is light, flavorful, and a total crowd pleaser—a dozen will not be enough!

Baked Oysters with Shaved Asparagus and Celery Salt

Makes 1 dozen oysters

Celery salt ingredients

1 celery spear, finely minced

1/3 teaspoon sea salt

Broiled oyster ingredients

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup bread crumbs

6 asparagus spears

Salt and pepper to taste

12 oysters, shucked

1/4 cup white cheddar (shredded) or Parmesan cheese

Instructions

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On large baking sheet, arrange oyster half shells meat-side up. Set aside. Combine celery and sea salt in small bowl and whisk together to create celery salt. Add additional salt to your liking. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve.

2) Using a potato peeler, slice asparagus spears using upward motion moving toward the tip. Shred each spear and chop in half to create short strands that will be easy for chewing.

3) In a nonstick medium saucepan over medium heat, sauté garlic until just turning brown, about 2 minutes. Add butter, allow to melt, and infuse with garlic, about 1 minute. Stir in breadcrumbs, shredded asparagus, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine all ingredients, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat.

4) Spoon quarter-sized scoop of asparagus mixture on top of each oyster. Place oysters in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and top oysters with cheese and a pinch of celery salt. Serve immediately.

••••••••

About Amanda Jane

Amanda Jane is the creator of the food blog Seasonally Jane, a creative space where she shares her love of seasonally inspired cooking through original recipes, photography and writing.  Seasonally Jane celebrates the use of peak-season fruits and vegetables with an emphasis on organic whole foods and unique ingredients. Amanda launched her blog in September 2014 and is based in Lighthouse Point.

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Seasonal Finds: Twist on Crab Cakes

I’ve been so inspired by the bounties of spring produce recently available at our local markets here in South Florida. Among the plethora of springtime vegetables are fresh leeks, which have two annual harvest seasons—spring and winter. Spring leeks are generally smaller and sweeter than winter leeks. They taste like a cross between mild onion and garlic. Leeks are often added into soups, vegetable medleys and gratin recipes. In this recipe they are mixed into a spring-inspired crab cake feast.

Given that it’s peak season for leeks, now is a great time to experiment with this yummy and remarkably healthy veggie. One cup of leeks contains only 54 calories. In addition, they are packed with vitamins A and K, thus promoting bone growth, blood-flow regulation and healthy blood cell development.

For those unfamiliar with fresh leeks, here are a few tips:

1) Selection process: Look for firm and straight leeks with dark green leaves with bright white stalks.

2) Freshness window: Fresh leeks can be stored in the refrigerator for one to two weeks.

3) That’s a wrap: Try storing them in plastic wrap or placing them in a sealed plastic bag to preserve moisture before using.

4) Clock is ticking: Once the leeks have been cooked, they become highly perishable; you’ll have two days, max, to use them.

Leeks and fresh crabmeat are a heavenly pairing in this recipe, and I’ve included fresh parsley and spring onion to enhance the sweetness of their flavors. The fennel seed remoulade—made from Greek yogurt, lime juice and fennel seed—is a tangy and healthier spin off of a traditional mayo-packed remoulade.

Enjoy!

Spring Leek Crab Cakes with Fennel Seed Remoulade

Makes 4-6 crab cakes

Remoulade Ingredients

5 ounces plain Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 teaspoon lime zest

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

Salt and pepper to taste

Crab Cake Ingredients

1/2 cup leeks, finely diced

1/4 cup spring onion, finely diced

2 eggs, whisked

1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped, plus more for garnish

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs

1/2 pound lump crabmeat

2 tablespoons canola oil

Directions

1) Make remoulade by mixing all ingredients together and whisking to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

2) In a large mixing bowl combine leeks, onion, eggs, parsley, mayonnaise, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Stir to combine ingredients, then fold crabmeat into the form mixture until fully incorporated. Use your hands to form the crab cakes.

3) Place remaining 1 cup bread crumbs onto a plate and lightly coat crab cakes on the top and bottom.

4) Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté crab cakes, in batches, for 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown on one side. Serve topped with remoulade and garnish with parsley for serving.

••••••••

About Amanda Jane

Amanda Jane is the creator of the food blog Seasonally Jane, a creative space where she shares her love of seasonally inspired cooking through original recipes, photography and writing.  Seasonally Jane celebrates the use of peak-season fruits and vegetables with an emphasis on organic whole foods and unique ingredients. Amanda launched her blog in September 2014 and is based in Lighthouse Point.

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Seasonal Finds: The World of Peas

With spring less than two weeks away, it’s time to bid adieu to winter’s harvest—and say hello to the new peak-season produce starting to flood our supermarkets. The fresh bounty includes one of the world’s most commonly used and oldest known vegetables: peas. Fresh English shelling peas, snow peas and sugar snap peas are available from early March through late May. They’re at their best in early spring, when the weather is still cool.

(See recipe below)

Throughout the year peas are commonly bought in frozen bags or cans, both of which contain enough preservatives to keep the contents shelf-worthy for a long period of time. It may surprise you to learn that, because of their natural sugar, peas begin converting to starch immediately after they are picked. To take advantage of peas at the height of their flavor, buy them fresh from the produce section—and prepare and eat them as soon as possible.

Not only are peas packed with sweet flavor, they are bustling with nutritional value. Eating them fresh means that you reap their highest levels of iron, vitamin B1, potassium, fiber and protein.

Peas, of course, can be used in countless recipes—including, one of my favorites, soup. Pea soup is a perfect bridge between the comfort foods of winter and the crispness of spring. The following recipe raises the flavor bar with mint leaves and bits of bacon.

Tip: When buying and using English peas as directed in the recipe below, shell them just before cooking to prevent the peas from drying out.

Pea Soup with Bacon and Mint

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 pound bacon, finely chopped, plus more for garnish

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 rib celery, chopped

1 medium russet potato, peeled and chopped

8 cups chicken stock

1 cup heavy cream

1 pound fresh, shelled English peas (from about 3 pounds unshelled)

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

2 sprigs fresh mint, plus more for garnish

Directions:

1) Add olive oil to large saucepan over medium heat. Add bacon and sauté. Once bacon is halfway cooked, about 4 minutes, add in onion, celery and potato. Sauté mixture until onions are translucent and bacon is fully cooked and crispy.

2) Add chicken stock and bring soup to a boil. Add peas, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes, continuing to stir every few minutes.

3) Transfer mixture into a food processor or blender and puree in batches. Return pureed soup to stove-top pot.

4) Mix heavy cream into the saucepan over low heat. Season with salt, pepper and mint springs. Allow soup to cook for 15 minutes more. Remove mint and discard.

5) Ladle soup into serving bowls and top with dollop of cream, bacon pieces, mint leaves and a sprinkle of pepper. Serve warm.

••••••••

About Amanda Jane

Amanda Jane is the creator of the food blog Seasonally Jane, a creative space where she shares her love of seasonally inspired cooking through original recipes, photography and writing.  Seasonally Jane celebrates the use of peak-season fruits and vegetables with an emphasis on organic whole foods and unique ingredients. Amanda launched her blog in September 2014 and is based in Lighthouse Point.

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BocaMagTV: Healthy Taco Recipe

Loved our healthy taco video from BocaMagTV? As promised, here’s the recipe from our Green Goddess:

Ingredients:

Beyond Meat Meatless Crumbles

Cumin

Chili Powder

Daiya Cheese

Shredded Cabbage

Chopped Avocado

Sprouts

Cilantro

Sprouted Organic Corn Tortilla

 

Instructions:

Heat up meatless crumbles in pan. Add spices, and melt cheese on top. Place into tortilla, add toppings and enjoy!

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Farmers Table New Cocktail Menu

Raise a glass to good health at Farmer’s Table in Boca Raton.  The farm-to-table restaurant is taking that toast literally with the new “Garden to Glass” drink menu.

These cocktails are made with organic and artisanal liquors and use only the freshest of ingredients.  Herbs and flowers in the drinks are picked from the organically grown garden right in front of the restaurant.  Some of these exotic ingredients may seem unusual, but each one is carefully picked for its nutritional value.

The menu also includes non-alcoholic refreshers. A popular favorite is the Okeechobee Sunrise, a Moroccan mint tea with orange juice and a touch of honey. Farmer’s Table shared the recipe with us below.

Okeechobee Sunrise

INGREDIENTS

Moroccan green mint tea mix:

1/3 cup Moroccan green mint tea leaves

1 1/2 quarts hot water

9 1/2 ounces orange juice

1 1/4 ounces honey

Beet water ice cubes:

Two 3-inch beets

64 ounces water

 

PREPARATION

Moroccan green mint tea mix:

Steep tea leaves in hot water for five minutes.  Strain out leaves and mix in honey and stir until it is dissolved. Stir in orange juice and allow to cool in a refrigerator.

Beet water ice cubes:

Rinse off beets to remove any soil or residue. Cut the root tails and the cap with the greens off of the beets. Slice the beets into 2-3 inch chunks. Add the water to a blender and pulse on low until beets are broken down into small segments. Pour mixuture into ice cube tray and freeze for six hours.

Once everything is properly chilled, pour the Moroccan green mint tea over the beet water ice cubes and garnish with a mint sprig.

Check out our May/June issue for another Farmer’s Table Garden to Glass recipe.

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Wine, cheese and chocolate that love you back

Valentine’s Day is almost here and for many, that can mean wine, cheese and chocolate galore. While you may love them, high-fat foods can leave you with a calorie overload and spiked up cholesterol – and that isn’t very loving to your arteries. If you’re committed to your New Year’s resolutions of staying healthy, then this Valentine’s Day, try different kinds of wine, cheese and chocolate that actually love you back. Yes, it is possible! What makes the difference is the ingredients.

WINE

Research studies have shown that in moderation red wine can actually be good for you, as it has resveratrol that might be good for the heart. However, conventional wine usually has added sulfites and most of the time is made from grapes that are covered in pesticides. Instead, try wine that is organic and sustainable. I just discovered two great brands – Philosophy and Vegan Vine.

Full-bodied zinfandel from Philosophy has aromas of raspberry, cedar and vanilla and is very smooth and rich. The brand’s philosophy – pun intended – is that great wine comes from organic grapes and it definitely has my vote. I love this philosophy and it is now one of my favorite wines on the market.

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Vegan Vine Wine is another great option. You may be thinking – isn’t all wine vegan? No. Some wines are processed with the use of animal skins. Vegan Vine is committed to making wine that is loving to our environment, animals and our bodies, so nobody gets hurt.

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CHEESE

Did you know that milk and dairy can weaken your bones instead of strengthening them? Statistics show that countries with the highest consumption of dairy (USA, Finland and Sweden) have the highest rates of osteoporosis. That’s because dairy products can be very acidic to humans and as a reaction, our bodies can use calcium from our own bones to neutralize this acid. Additionally, dairy products have casein, a compound nature created to keep a baby calf addicted to his mother’s milk. That’s why it can be hard to stop eating cheese.

To be loving to your bones and your taste buds, I suggest trying rich, plant-based cheeses. Miyoko’s Kitchen just launched a new line of gourmet cheese that you can order online. I tried them all and my absolute favorites are French Style Winter Truffle, Mt. Vesuvius Black Ash, Double Cream Chive and Double Cream Sundried Tomato. I had a pre-Valentine’s Day party with my cheese-loving friends and everyone was blown away by the quality, texture and taste. Simply incredible! These cheeses are free from soy, gluten, dairy and egg, and full of flavor and love.

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CHOCOLATE

Because chocolate comes from cacao and cacao is a bean, is it safe to call it a vegetable? It is in my book. Especially when it comes to organic, dark chocolate that is rich in antioxidants, iron, magnesium and fiber. Yes, chocolate does have fat and it is calorically dense, so I suggest sticking to a small amount and following my tip for eating it. Instead of biting into a piece of chocolate and chewing it, let it slowly melt in your mouth. This process will take longer, as chocolate takes time to dissolve, so you will need just a small amount to get several minutes of indulgence. Trust me, it is much more satisfying to have chocolate this way.
If you want an extra bonus with chocolate, check out the ChocoLove Brand. Besides getting rich chocolate with great flavors like Almonds & Sea Salt or Chillies & Cherries, you will also get a love poem inside each wrapper.

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Here’s a recipe for a delicious yet healthy Valentine’s Day treat:

Stress-Reducing Chocolate Bark

2 cups of dark chocolate chips

3/4 cup of almond slivers

3/4 cup hulled hemp seeds

1/2 cup freeze-dried raspberries (save half of that amount for topping)

1/3 cup shredded coconut

Melt chocolate in a pan on the stove. Remove from stove and mix in almond slivers, hemp seeds and ¼ cup of raspberries. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Place a piece of parchment paper on top of a rectangular plate and pour the chocolate mixture on it.

Cover with another piece of parchment paper and press with hands to let air out between nuts and dried raspberries. Sprinkle with coconut and remaining raspberries.

Place in the fridge until chocolate is solid again. Cut in small pieces and enjoy!

••••••••

For more from the Green Goddess, click here.

About Alina Z.

Alina Z., aka “The Green Goddess,” is a certified holistic health coach, detox specialist and raw-food chef (she conducts occasional classes at Whole Foods in Boca). Prior to moving to Florida,  Alina hosted her own TV show in Maryland—“Entertaining A to Z”—for people who didn’t have time to cook but wanted to eat healthy. Catch one of her web episodes at eHow.com, visit Alina’s website at alinaz.com, or follow her on Facebook (facebook.com/CoutureFood) or Twitter (@CoutureFood). The Green Goddess blog runs every other Wednesday at bocamag.com.

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A little naughty, but mostly nice holiday drinks

A little Naughty, But Mostly Nice Holiday Drinks

One of the things I often hear from clients is that they don’t want to give up their wine or other alcoholic beverages. I am a big believer in balance and sometimes that may mean having a drink, especially when you’re celebrating the holidays with your family and friends. To get the most value out of your alcoholic beverages, take a look at my tips and recipes for healthier versions of classic favorites.

Best drinks at the party:

Organic Red Wine without sulfites added – red wine has the highest level of antioxidants and resveratrol, which has shown to have some heart-healthy benefits. One 5-ounce glass contains only 100 calories

Organic White Wine without sulfites added – one 5-ounce glass contains only 120 calories.

Champagne/Sparking Wine/Prosecco – each glass is usually 3.5 ounces and has 70 calories.

Z-Tips:

Drink flavored Italian sparkling water from champagne flutes in between alcoholic beverages to reduce alcohol consumption and stay hydrated. Try raspberry/lemon or the strawberry flavors.

Avoid martinis and instead have your drink on ice. As ice melts, it will dilute alcohol and make your drink less concentrated, making it easier for your body to process

Substitute dairy milk and cream for almond milk and coconut cream. Plant-based milks are cholesterol-free and they offer additional benefits like vitamin E and good-for-you fats.

Recipes:

Pineapple Vodka Cocktail – Craving a mixed Vodka drink? Mix healthy green juices with vodka for a balanced mixed drink.

2 ounces pineapple juice

½ ounce lime juice

½ ounce kale juice

1 ounce vodka

Fresh wedges of pineapple

Mix all ingredients in a glass with ice. Decorate with a wedge of pineapple.

Vegan Eggnog – In the mood for an old-fashioned eggnog? Try this cholesterol-free recipe that gives you extra protein and fiber that a traditional drink won’t – without sacrificing any flavor.

2 cups Califia Farms Almond Milk Holiday Nog

1 cup cold water

10 ounce extra-firm sprouted tofu

1/2 cup coconut nectar

1.5 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup rum or brandy (optional)

Blend all ingredients until smooth in a high-speed blender. Enjoy!

••••••••

For more from the Green Goddess, click here.

About Alina Z.

Alina Z., aka “The Green Goddess,” is a certified holistic health coach, detox specialist and raw-food chef (she conducts occasional classes at Whole Foods in Boca). Prior to moving to Florida,  Alina hosted her own TV show in Maryland—“Entertaining A to Z”—for people who didn’t have time to cook but wanted to eat healthy. Catch one of her web episodes at eHow.com, visit Alina’s website at alinaz.com, or follow her on Facebook (facebook.com/CoutureFood) or Twitter (@CoutureFood). The Green Goddess blog runs every other Wednesday at bocamag.com.

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Web Xtra: Crab Cake Recipe

Frank Hawkins does not make bad crab cakes. The Baltimore native and chef-owner of charming little True in Boca Raton (147 S.E. First Ave., 561/417-5100) draws his own culinary experience and the region’s decades of accumulated expertise in the cooking and serving of its iconic crustacean to turn out crab cakes as deliciously crabby as their consumers are happy to inhale them.

In Hawkins’ hands, sweet-tasting blue crabmeat and a few simple ingredients come together to create a nugget of seafaring goodness whose whole really is greater than the sum of its parts.

Maryland-Style Crabcakes

2 pounds blue crabmeat

2 pieces white bread, torn into small pieces

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 egg, beaten

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning

2 teaspoons yellow mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon each, minced red pepper and chopped parsley

Paprika and butter for topping

Preparation: Combine all ingredients except blue crabmeat, bread, red pepper and parsley and mix well. In separate bowl, blend crabmeat, bread, red pepper and parsley, then add just enough mayonnaise mixture to bind, approximately three-quarters of a cup. Mix gently, form into patties, dust with paprika and refrigerate until ready to cook.

To cook: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place crab cakes on nonstick baking sheet and top with small piece of butter. Bake for approximately 12 minutes and serve with tartar sauce, cocktail sauce or mustard sauce.