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.
Spring Leek Crab Cakes with Fennel Seed Remoulade
Makes 4-6 crab cakes
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
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.