Café Crab Cakes with Watercress and Blood Oranges

At Drake’s Beach Café in Inverness, the best crab cakes are made from Dungeness crabs cooked the day they are caught. Watercress and blood oranges add color and a refreshing counterpoint to the fresh seafood. Grapefruit and arugula are also a good combination.









Chive Oil

1/4 cup minced chives

1/3 cup grapeseed oil

1/8 teaspoon salt

Crab Cakes

1 pound fresh lump Dungeness crabmeat, picked over for shell

1/2 cup crème fraiche

1 large shallot, minced

Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 large egg, beaten

2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

1/4 cup minced mixed fresh herbs (chives, flat-leaf parsley and tarragon)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper, plus more to taste

2 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 teaspoon aged balsamic vinegar

1 bunch of watercress or arugula, stemmed, or leaves from 1 head frisée lettuce

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 blood oranges, peeled and segmented, juice reserved (reserve 1 tablespoon of juice)

Segmenting citrus  Use a knife to remove the skin and white pith from the fruit. Carefully slice between the membrane of each segment and remove the slices. Remove any seeds.

For the chive oil  Combine all the chive oil ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Set aside and let stand for 30 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine-meshed sieve. Discard the solids and reserve the oil. The chive oil keeps refrigerated for 4 days.

For the crab cakes  Combine the crabmeat, crème fraiche, shallot, lemon zest and juice, egg, 1 cup of the panko, the herbs, salt and pepper. Firmly pack the crabmeat mixture into a 1/4-cup dry measuring cup and invert onto a baking sheet, repeating to use all the mixture, yielding 6 crab cakes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours.

Preheat an oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the remaining Panko on a plate and season with salt and pepper to taste. Melt the butter in a large non-stick sauté pan over medium heat. Dredge the crab cakes in the panko to coat evenly and sear for 5 to 7 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Transfer to the prepared pan keep warm in the oven until finishing the dish.

Whisk 1 tablespoon of the reserved blood orange juice, the olive oil, salt and pepper together in a small bowl to make vinaigrette.

To serve, place a crab cake on each of 6 salad plates. Dress the watercress and orange segments with the vinaigrette and place a small handful along side each crab cake. Drizzle 1/8 teaspoon of the balsamic vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon of the chive oil around each serving. Serve immediately.

Serves 6 as a first course.

Organic Marin: Recipes from Land to Table

Written and photographed by Tim Porter and Farina Wong Kingsley, and produced by Marin Magazine, this is a seasonal cookbook that celebrates the organic farmers and ranchers of Marin County. Flavor will feature a recipe from Organic Marin each month. The book can be purchased at local bookstores or by going to