Crawfish Cakes with Wild Ramps, Mache Salad and Orange Chili Vinaigrette

Crawfish Cakes with Wild Ramps, Mache Salad and Orange Chili Vinaigrette

Serves 10
Secret Ingredient: Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
  • For the Orange Chili Vinaigrette
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (hot or mild, whichever you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • For the Béchamel (white sauce)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1/2 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • For the Crawfish Cakes
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, minced (about 1/2 a pepper)
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, minced (about 1/2 a pepper)
  • 1/4 cup wild ramps, chopped (or 1 bunch green onions)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pound crawfish tails, thawed and peeled (available in frozen seafood section)
  • 2 large egg yolks, whisked together
  • 2 cups bread crumbs, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 10 cups mache or mixed greens
  • 8 raw asparagus spears, shaved using a vegetable peeler
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For the vinaigrette, reduce orange juice in a saucepan over medium heat until it become thick and syrupy, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Combine reduced orange juice with onion, lemon juice, mustard, chili powder and vinegar in a blender, pulsing until combined. With the blender running, slowly add olive oil until dressing is thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate in a glass jar or squeeze bottle until ready to use. Bring to room temperature before serving.

For the béchamel, melt butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and salt until combined. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly to eliminate any lumps. Cook for 10 minutes until thickened, stirring frequently to avoid scorching. Set aside to cool.

For the crawfish cakes, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add bell peppers, ramps and garlic. Cook 2 to 3 minutes until soft. Add crawfish and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in béchamel and bring mixture to a simmer, cooking 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in egg yolks and 1 cup of the bread crumbs.

Refrigerate mixture 30 minutes to an hour until cool and thickened. Form into 10 large cakes or 20 small cakes (the batter will be sticky). Sprinkle tops of crawfish cakes with remaining 1 cup of breadcrumbs. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Sear cakes, 3 to 4 minutes per side, until golden and crisp, adding more butter as needed. Drain on paper towel-lined plate.

Toss together mache with asparagus and divide among serving plates. Top salad with crawfish cakes and drizzle with vinaigrette.
Nutritional Info: 
Per Serving: 460 calories (330 from fat), 37g total fat, 17g saturated fat, 150mg cholesterol, 500mg sodium, 22g carbohydrates, (2 g dietary fiber, 6g sugar), 13g protein.