These delicious little burgers are a variation on crab cakes. Scallop mousse binds together the nuggets of fresh crab. The result is a burger with a more intense and complex seafood flavor. The light licorice flavor of fennel tastes wonderful with crab, so I've created a simple Marinated Fennel Salad to serve with the sliders. You can use the fennel fronds to garnish the serving plate. You make the mousse in a blender or in a food processor, so it's done in a flash. I would not recommend grilling these on an outdoor barbecue because they are delicate and easily overcooked.
Build your own: Serve the burgers without buns and garnishes as an appetizer.
- 1/4 pound fresh sea scallops, chilled
- 1 large egg
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 pound fresh jumbo lump crabmeat, well drained and chilled
- 2 tablespoons finely diced red bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- Several drops of hot sauce, such as Tabasco
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh fennel fronds or tarragon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
- 12 soft, mini burger buns
- 2 handfuls greens, such as watercress or baby arugula
- 2 small, ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
- Marinated Fennel Salad
Put the scallops and egg in a blender or food processor and process until well blended. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of pepper. Pulse and process until the mixture is very thick and tight, like a stiff mayonnaise. With the machine running, add the cream very slowly in a steady stream until it is incorporated. You should have a scallop mousse with the texture of a thick mayonnaise. Scrape the mousse into a large bowl.
Make sure the crab is well drained; squeeze it between your hands to rid it of any excess moisture. Fold it into the scallop mousse with the red pepper, cilantro, mustard, and 3 drops of hot sauce until evenly mixed. Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and more hot sauce, if desired. Refrigerate for 1 hour to let the mixture firm up a bit.
Using damp hands and handling the mixture lightly, shape the crab mixture into small burgers to fit the buns. (There is enough to make about twelve 1-1/2-inch burgers.) Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before cooking.
In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise with a few drops of hot sauce to taste and the fennel fronds. Cover and set aside until needed.
When ready to cook, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Generously season the burgers on both sides with salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, about 3 minutes total. Be careful not to overcook or the burgers will be dry. Add more oil if the burgers begin to stick to the pan.
While the burgers cook, toast the buns in a toaster oven or under the broiler, about 5 inches from the heat, until lightly toasted. Lightly spread the flavored mayonnaise onto the bun tops and bottoms.
To build the burgers, layer the greens, burgers, tomatoes, and a topknot of fennel salad on the bun bottoms. Cover with the bun tops and skewer together, if desired. Serve immediately, with any remaining fennel salad on the side.
Marinated Fennel Salad
Serves 4 to 6
This is a simple, crunchy, and colorful salad that works wonderfully with the Crab Sliders.
Build Your Own: The salad also complements salmon, rock shrimp, and chicken burgers. Or serve it with a plate of roasted mussels. It can be made well ahead, even a day ahead of time. If made in advance, it "melts" a little but retains its fresh flavor and crunchy texture.
- 1 large (about 1/2 pound) bulb fennel
- 1 tablespoon very finely chopped fennel fronds
- 4 to 5 large red radishes, cut into julienne
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Trim the stalks and cut the fennel bulb in half lengthwise. Using a mandoline, cut the halves crosswise into very thin slices. Put them in a medium, nonreactive bowl and add the fennel fronds, radishes, lemon juice, and olive oil and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss again. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 1 day before serving.
Build Your Own Ultimate Burgers
- by Hubert Keller with Penelope Wisner
- Wiley 2009
- Hardcover; $22.95; 180 pages
- ISBN-10: 0470187670
- ISBN-13: 978-0-470-18767-81
- Recipe reprinted by permission.
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This page created June 2009