Quick Bite: Simply Divine
Jennifer and Enan Parezo share an easy recipe for spring crab cakes
Think one couple running a King Street café and bakery, a catering company, and a personal chef service sounds like a recipe for delicious chaos? You’re right. “We’re always busy, but we have a blast bouncing recipe ideas off each other,” says Jennifer Meintel Parezo, who owns Twenty Six Divine with husband Enan.
A graduate of the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Scottsdale, Arizona, and former assistant pastry chef for Charleston Place Hotel, Jennifer creates all of Twenty Six Divine’s baked goods—including stellar special occasion cakes. Meanwhile, Enan heads up the savory side of things. A Johnson & Wales degree and years of restaurant work—including time as Charleston Place’s chef de cuisine—paved the way for the personal chef enterprise he started in 2006. These days, he cooks for 12 to 18 families a week.
But far less complicated than their schedules is their culinary style. “We believe a great meal doesn’t have to be a science experiment on your plate,” says Enan. “Keep it simple and you can knock people’s socks off,” adds Jennifer.
A perfect-for-spring example? Their lemon-basil crab cakes, which, says Enan, “are easy if you have the right cooking utensils.” For portioning out small, lunch-sized patties, a two-ounce scoop works well. Use a four-ounce version for dinner entrées. To make searing “a no-brainer,” employ a heavy-duty Teflon-coated pan and a pair of silicone-tipped tongs. “Metal utensils will scratch your pan, and tongs are easier to handle the cakes with than a spatula,” explains Enan.
1 lb. lump crabmeat
1 lb. shrimp, cooked, chilled, patted dry, and chopped small
1/4 cup whole-grain mustard
2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
3 Tbs. grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil), finely minced
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. fine lemon zest (preferably done with a microplane)
Juice of two lemons
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
3-4 Tbs. canola oil
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Place first 14 ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Mix well and season with salt and pepper.
Use a two-ounce scoop to portion out the cakes. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat for one-and-a-half to two minutes, then coat pan with canola oil for a very shallow pan fry. Heat the oil for approximately one to one and a half minutes, then use tongs to set cakes into the pan one to two inches apart. Continuously rotate cakes on one side with tongs to achieve an even, golden brown sear (three to four minutes). Carefully turn cakes over and sear. When cakes are fully seared, transfer to a sheet pan that’s lightly coated with pan spray. Repeat with remaining cakes.
Finish cakes in oven for eight to 12 minutes or until hot throughout.