Recreating Emeril Lagasse's Crabcakes from Taste

We challenged resident Bon Appétit supertaster Chris Morocco to recreate Emeril Lagasse's crabcakes using every sense he has - other than sight.

7/15/2021 6:15:00 PM

We challenged resident Bon Appétit supertaster Chris Morocco to recreate Emeril Lagasse's crabcakes using every sense he has - other than sight.

We challenged resident Bon Appétit supertaster Chris Morocco to recreate Emeril Lagasse's crabcakes using every sense he has - other than sight. Was he up to the challenge?

but I couldn't even begin to say what it is.This is gonna sound crazy. It smelled like breakfast.Oh my gosh.This is, like, not at all what I was expecting.So, I have like two things that seem to be exactly the same.It's crispy.And there seems to be some kind of sauce adhering it

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to the plate.Very garlicky little number there,like a very garlicky aioli.So, we've got this fried little unit.Wow, it's so flavorful.It seems to be like smoked fish in here.I feel like there is potato in here.It just feels like there's like a kind of a potato-y matrix

kind of holding things together.Okay, well that was a little piece of something.Maybe garlic, maybe finely diced pickleor some kind of relish.Oh.That's not smoked fish. That's crab.There is, like, kind of like a smokiness comingfrom some kind of element here, though.

It's not like a lot of heat.There is like some kind of smoky, maybe peppery element.I think I'm looking at crab cakes with aioli.There's something that's giving me green vegetal.I feel like there's gotta be somethingkind of binding this, too.

There's a slight gumminess, not bad or anything.But I mean, I think like there's something additional,maybe beyond potato, if it is potato.Could you make like a roux that's like so tightthat you're basically able to mold it and fry it?

And the outside kind of has to be coatedin some sort of bread crumb, maybe an egg coating.There seems to be like an allium element,possibly garlic, shallot, maybe.There's a bit of a distinct pepperiness, too.It feels like it's either 100% olive oil based,

or at least 50%.I'm getting lemon, garlic, salt.Maybe there's a touch of mustard in there.It doesn't seem to be as stiff as like a mayonnaise.But it seems to be, I don't know,all the flavors seem to be in line with aioli,if that makes sense.

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Maybe a pinch of cayenne.Oh, that has a lot going on there.I don't know, there's something about like the green pepper,the fact that, like,I'm getting like a certain kind of like starchy, you know,kind of slurry, roux kind of thing happening.

It sort of feels like it's like a little bit of, like,you know, the sort of like holy trinity of, like,garlic, green pepper, green chili, some kind of onion.I'm always wanting to say, like, Emerilfor anything that's like, even like remotely in this world.

Hey, do you remember when Emeril came to One World Trade?Bam.All right, get it outta here.Okay, we're here to make a shopping list.For the sauce, I'm thinking olive oil, lemon, garlic.Could it be an aioli that has a little sort of streakof like a hot sauce in it?

Mustard?I would err on the side of it beinglike an egg yolk bound emulsion.So, we need some crab, green bell pepper.I mean, yet another recipe that mayor may not have heavy cream in it.But, let's say cream and milk.We're gonna need fine bread crumb.

Was there pickle relish in there?I'll put it down as a maybe.I'm leaning on this notion that, like,there is some kind of roux or other kind of basethat your aromatics are being cooked out in.And then, maybe there's just enough crabto just kind of hold it all together.

But then, what are you doing, just chilling that mixture,kind of scooping, and flattening, and breading?I mean, I guess like,could you almost do like a bechameland then chill it?Like, I mean, just point being likeadd a little bit of like cream or milk,

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and just use that kind of as your binder.It's kind of antithetical to how I would make a crab cake,I think, is sort of the problem on this one.I'm not gonna go so far as to say I feel good about this,but I mean, that's kinda what I got.[beep] horn.

My feeling is like, let's just do somethingand like focus on having a good time.We're gonna go with this roux option.Maybe we'll start with the aromaticswith a lot of butter.We'll put the flour in there,cook it out, and then maybe, you know, throw in some cream.

How's that sounding?So, we're gonna start by cutting some stuff.And maybe I wasn't like being entirely clearabout what I was talking about with the shallot thing.It felt like, you know,you were kind of getting like a squiggle,like a squiggle of shallot that was in there.

It still had a little bit of texture to it, you know?We'll do like a little like base all together.We'll clean the crab. It'll be great.Yeah.I'll go jalapeno over bell pepper any day.Everything you think you should do is moderatedand modulated by what you yourself would do

in the same situation.It's a hard thing to kind of get away from.There's no avoiding it any longer.We're gonna have to go to the stoveand actually start making some bad decisions here.You know, it sort of like occurs to you,as you like lob a small brick of butter into a skillet,

that like you don't actually recall tasting butter.But, you just kinda have to start somewhereand see how things behave, and see how things react,and hope that it informs better decisions later on.Maybe some black pepper here, too. Why not?And when these kind of feel like they've softened

and developed enough flavor,gonna have to throw some flour in there and cook it out.You don't want raw flour in there,but we can't take it too far.Is that a metal whisk on a nonstick skillet?Why, yes it is.Sometimes that's just how it goes.

Between the butter and the heavy cream,the flour is having a hard time holding that fatin suspension.There's just not enough, like, water content.Maybe I'll throw a splash of milk in here, too.Okay, we now have a hot mixture that we want to get cold.

We can like sit around, waiting for it to get coldin the freezer, or you can like speed that right along.And then the crab can just go right in there.And then, we're just gonna kind of tryto mold one of these things.I'm just gonna take some of this crab.

Still like too much fat, but like,we're gonna be able to coat that.We're gonna do with like our three-part dredge.The texture of the crab cake that I tried was sturdy.It did not feel like the mixture itself was like, you know,stiff by any means.

The inside was, you know, a little bit more tender,a little bit more supple.I think the sturdiness was born of the robustnessof the coating, what I assume to be flouringand bread crumbing of it.It's not not holding together.I thought I might need to chill them,

but it was holding together just fine.We're gonna try shallow-frying this. Okay?If there is potato in there, a piece of me may die today.It kind of looks like a weird little mutant donut, right?Let's try the crab cake while it's hot.You know what the sick thing is? It's really not bad.

It's almost like not pasty enough.The jalapeno ended up adding more heat than I was expecting.Like, this is like almost too light,which sounds weird for something that waslike literally, like, weeping buttery tears.Mine could be a little bit firmer.

But the coating, the fact that it kind of wants to pull awayfrom the mixture a little bit, that feels appropriate.I don't know, there's too much heat coming from this.This is also just like bound so tightly.The butter needs to come down,if there even is butter in there.

I mean, it could be oil.It could be something else. I don't know.Like, am I overthinking it?Is it as simple as like, oh,just like whack some mayonnaise, and some flour, frankly,inside the crab cake?But yeah, back to the aioli, Holy Hannah.Like, is this a world where, like,

you're making your own aioli from scratch?I feel like I always choose wrong on these things, you know?Oh, you should have like made your own mayo.Let's just make something and see what happens.I don't know.I guess I have no choice but just to go

with some of the flavors that I felt I was perceiving.I've got an egg yolk. I've got a pinch of salt.I've got some lemon juiceand just a little, little tip of a spoon of mustard.So, I'm gonna start with olive oil,and then see if I need to switch to neutral.

A thought I had a short while ago wasshould we make some of this mixture,throw it together with some of the crab,throw some flour on there, and fry that?[beep]Well, I think the aioli broke.We got the food processor.I mean, like really, like we're gonna use a food processor

to make [beep] aioli?I just don't even think it works that well.[Man] How did this one work out?Oh my [beep] God.All right, so we got the food processor.Overcoming adversity, we're overcoming failure.That's what this show is about.It needs the garlic.

I guess, let's mix a little bit with some hot sauceand see what happens.I mean, that's good. Is it correct, though?I think, in the interest of sanity,let's just make a new crab cake.Let's see what happens when the aromatics go in raw.Let's maybe fry it like

at like a little bit lower temperature.Maybe they'll soften up just enough, you know?I'm not gonna go to bell pepper.I'm just gonna use less jalapeno,couple tablespoons of aioli,enough for a couple of crab cakes, a little flour.Why not?We don't really have time to cool it down today.

This is holding it together just enough so thatif I were to chill it, molded into patty shape,I think we could probably get away with it.But, is that what I'm actually gonna do?I don't know.Let's also do a pinch of salt, cracked pepper.Are we gonna get away with it?

[upbeat music]We really need to chill it.Whatever comes out of this freezer is going in thereand then getting fried.In a perfect world, that would have chilledfor like an hour.But, this is definitely the point of the dayin which everything just feels wrong, you know?

All right, so we're gonna plate this one up.Why isn't anybody making any sounds?I mean, I was wearing a [beep] blindfold.What do you want? Okay?Yeah, this is giving me that like,that pastier thing inside.I think it's giving me some structure that feels better

to me.Feeling okay about the raw aromatics.In my first version, you know,the method was like highly unusual,but it had like a really particular kind of benefit.The mixture was robust enough that it could be dredgedand fried right away.We kind of got to, at the end of the day, like,

something of a similar place,but just like in using such wildly different methods.I want to chill it further next time.I mean, we barely got away with that.But sauce, I don't know.Something's going on with the sauce.I'm withholding further comments

until I do the next tasting.Ingredients, I'm gonna be generous with myselfand call this a 72.There could be like eight other things lurking in here.Technique, maybe a 75.I mean, everybody seemed to be pushing real hardfor the frigging food processor.

And for the record, I used it under duress.Appearance, 80.They're a little chunky,but like that's what it seemed to be.And the taste, it's not quite there.There's some stuff that's off here.I'd say like, you know, like again, like maybe a 75.

So, that puts me at a 76, solid C average.And that might even be a bit charitable.Cannot wait to try the original dish again.Let's do a better reveal.Sorry, I was like, that was a real half-assed, like,just like, you know?Let's do like a real, okay.

Yeah. Nice.I don't know how I missed that on the first go.Like, I keep wanting to say it's parsley.But then, there's like the salt with it, too.They're certainly not as big as I was making them.I feel like I got a little piece of cornichon.

It's funny,my experience of it is like completely different now.The notion that this could be cayenneadding just like that prickle in the back of your throat.I mean, I think that could certainly be an option.The crab cakes, is it mayo in here or just egg?

What is this crab and aromatics, like, suspended in?I can't believe I didn't think about like breadcrumbs,or just bread.So, I have a very pointed question to ask.Do we have any like soft white bread?[Summer] No.God, I would have guessed that it was bread

and not bread crumb.And I feel like real lost right now.Like, the breadcrumb isn't just gonna simply disappearin there.That's my hang up here. Read more: Bon Appétit »

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