I've been wanting to make these for some time and was reminded of them on a recent trip to Big Sur, well not just a trip, it was our 10th wedding anniversary! It was very relaxing and mostly unplugged. We stayed in a wonderful forest cottage at Heart Circle Mountain, nestled in the hills among redwood trees. The lack of cell service and internet was almost jarring at first, with wifi only available at the main house up the hill, and cell service in general was none to sketchy at best along the coast.
But you adapt, get into it, and that's when you really know the peace and comfort of the redwoods.
It was especially nice to eat outside, we had the slaw salad Slaw with Fresh Herbs (which tastes even better the day after it's made) along with chicken burgers, the chicken burgers were actually from a Chicken Meatball recipe I posted a while back, we've been pretty crazy for them and they are absolutely great grilled, the recipe makes about 6 burgers.
We spent sometime along the coast and stopped in Rocky Point restaurant along Highway 1 near Big Sur. If you find yourself around Big Sur or Carmel this place is not to be missed, the views are spectacular. They have trails where you can walk out to the rocks and it's absolutely beautiful.
This is where we had lunch and enjoyed some potato crab cakes. And I remembered this recipe for Potato Nests filled with Gingered Crab from La Tartine Gourmande cookbook, I never made them thinking maybe it was too fancy or occasional, but I really felt compelled to make them after the trip. And I'm glad I did. These small bites taste really wonderful, I love the apple crunch paired up with crab and a little bit of hot pepper in the potato nest. I think they could work well with a some avocado too.
I've added some notes in the recipe about the potato nests, a few times I thought they were doomed, but they seemed to work out pretty well for a first attempt.
We really enjoyed them and I hope you do as well! Also I've just started a Facebook page here if you'd like to like the page and follow future posts.
Potato Nests with Gingered Crab
(adapted from La Tartine Gourmande)
Makes 18-20 nests (note: I yielded 16 nests total)
- 1 large baking potato, peeled and finely grated
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
- Sea salt
- Crushed red peppercorns (about 1/8 teaspoon)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 an apple, cored and diced
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/2 cup cooked fresh crabmeat
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 scallion, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger or 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger*
Preheat oven to 420°. Oil a mini muffin pan with cooking spray, set aside.
Allow the grated potato to sit in cold water for a few minutes, then rinse and squeeze it dry through a colander.
In a bowl combine the potato, egg and nutmeg. Add the parsley and season with salt and crushed red peppercorns.
Take a small amount (about a tablespoon) of potato mixture in your hand and squeeze excess liquid, press into the bottom of muffin hole in the shape of a nest. repeat with remaining grated potatoes. Add 1/2 teaspoon melted butter to each nest. (Note: the potato kept sticking to my hands and it was tricky to form the nest, once the butter was added I was able to form the nest more neatly and was easier to handle).
Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until they are crisp and golden in color. (Note: the top portion of the nests started to brown immediately, I may have had too much of a puddle of butter in the bottom of the nest to brown at the same time, but they turned out ok after 23 minutes.) Remove the nests from muffin pan and let cool on a rack.
In a bowl gently toss the crab, apple, lime juice, oil, cilantro, scallion and ginger. Add salt and pepper to taste. Using a teaspoon, spoon a small amount of filling inside each potato nest.
(Optional topping: a dollop of creme fraiche and fresh chopped chives, the book also mentions topping with pomegranate seeds but I don't think they need it)
*Oddly enough the original recipe in the book did not have ginger as an ingredient, I used the ground ginger and it tasted fine, but if you have fresh ginger I would go with fresh!
A special small bite for a special week!