Recipe: Dungeness 'Black Pepper' Crab Fritters

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It’s not everyday a chef opens up his recipe notebook and shares his craft. Cook like a chef with this recipe from Chef Jacques Qualin for dungeness ‘black pepper’ crab fritters.

A Few Words from Chef Jacques:
“The base is pâte à choux, which is a classic recipe in France,” Qualin says. “The sauce has a lot of spice, but that’s why you don’t want to use too much. You just put a nice dash on it. The crispy and the spice with a little bit of refreshing Asian pear, it’s a nice combination.”


Ingredient List

  • 3½ ounces crab meat

  • 1½ ounces pâte à choux (recipe below)

  • ¼ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

  • Oil for deep frying

  • Black pepper sauce (recipe below)

  • Korean Asian pear, cut into a fine julienne

  • Fleur de sel, as needed

  • Cilantro, fine chiffonade, as needed

  • For the pâte à choux:

  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons water

  • 6 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1½ cups)

  • 6 tablespoons butter

  • 5 large eggs

Black Pepper Sauce Ingredient List:

  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil

  • 7 ounces scallions (about 2 bunches) washed, dried and sliced

  • 2 ounces garlic (about 1 head), minced

  • 2 tablespoons fermented black beans, rinsed, squeezed and chopped

  • 3 tablespoons black peppercorns, crushed

  • 6 tablespoons sweet soy sauce

  • ½ cup sugar

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

First, for the the pâte à choux, use a large pot to bring your butter and water to a simmer. Next, stir in flour and cook, stirring, until your batter pulls cleanly away from the sides of the pot. Transfer the contents to a mixer and whisk for two minutes to cool. Add one egg and repeat until all eggs are fully incorporated. Cool before using.

Mix the crab meat, pâte à choux and Old Bay seasoning and roll into nuggets about the size of a quarter. Deep-fry these nuggets in oil at 375-degrees until they are golden For best results, place a wire basket on top to submerge.

Black Pepper Sauce
Over medium heat, heat oil and heat and fry garlic until golden. Add scallions and cook until soft. Next, add pepper and cook until fragrant. Add your remaining ingredients and boil. Once the sauce coats the back of a spoon, remove from heat and puree to medium smooth, grittiness is to be expected.

To serve, first spoon your sauce in the center of the plate, neatly. Arrange the crab fritters on top on your sauce. Creatively scatter the Asian pear atop the crab and sprinkle lightly with cilantro and fleur de sel to finish.

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