Chef Karey B. Johnson Brings Coastal Glow to Whole Foods Culinary Center
Rockport chef shares Gulf Coast flavors
By MM Pack, 3:04PM, Mon. Oct. 1, 2012
Karey B. Johnson of Glow restaurant in Rockport is in love with the Texas Gulf Coast and its food offerings. A Houston native, she spent eight years catering in London before returning to Texas to open her restaurant in a converted wooden boathouse facing Little Bay in Rockport.
Glow particularly shines with its presentations of local Gulf seafood, including tasty preparations of traditionally under-appreciated varieties like sheepshead, squid, and Spanish mackerel. In addition to fresh seafood, antelope, quail, and produce from nearby coastal-plain farms, Johnson forages local ingredients for seasonal incorporation in the menu: samphire (a salt-marsh succulent), mesquite beans, pecans, dewberries, and mustang grapes. She also makes her own sea salt.
Last Thursday, Johnson shared her enthusiasm for Gulf seafood in a cooking demonstration at Whole Foods Market Culinary Center. While telling stories about her life on the coast, she prepared crab and shrimp cakes, a squid and albacore tuna ceviche, and butter-roasted Gulf snapper with roast tomatoes and crisp potato pave. Dessert was an indescribably delicious bread pudding dressed with salted rum sauce, candied pecans, and brûléed bananas.
Glow's Crab and Shrimp Cakes with Sriracha Aioli
Makes 24 small crab cakes
About the popularity of crab cakes, Johnson says, "You could serve caviar on top of foie gras on top of Kobe beef on top of gold, and people would still go for the crab cakes." For variation in texture and flavor, she incorporates chunks of Gulf shrimp into her spicy crab concoctions. The ginger, garlic, and Sriracha aioli are nods to the culinary traditions of her Vietnamese-American neighbors on the coast.
4 egg yolks
4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups olive oil
Have all ingredients at room temperature. In food processor, add egg yolk, vinegar, and salt. Pulse a few times. Switch to On and slowly add oil until incorporated. Add water to thin, if preferred. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
For Sriracha Aioli:
2 cups aioli (see previous recipe)
1/4 cup Sriracha sauce
Juice of two lemons
Mix together, cover, and keep in fridge.
For Crab and Shrimp Cakes:
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ginger, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon jalapeno chile, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 pound crabmeat, finely chopped
3/4 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, coarsely chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs, plus more to roll
Butter and vegetable oil for pan frying
Chives for garnish
Heat one tablespoon oil in heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add onion, ginger, and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Transfer to large bowl; mix in crab, shrimp, egg, 1/4 cup Sriracha aioli and juice from one lemon. Then stir in two cups panko. Form mixture into mini crab cakes, about two tablespoons each. Dredge cakes in panko, turning to coat. Place on baking sheet, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.
Heat oil and butter for pan frying in heavy skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, add cakes and sauté until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to plates and garnish with a dollop of Sriracha aioli and a sprinkle of chives.