One of my favorite food memories is from a trip I took to Trinidad and Tobago to visit my friend Wendy, who had moved back to Port-of-Spain after a few years in New York. She drove me to Maracas Beach, about 40 minutes outside of the city, where all the shacks along the beach sold the same thing: “bake ’n’ shark,” a grilled fish sandwich that Wendy loves. We placed our order with one of the vendors, then watched as he grilled the fish, fried the bread, and dressed our sandwiches with garlic sauce and chado benny, a condiment made from a cilantro-like herb, vinegar, and rum-pickled chilies. Sitting on the beach washing the sandwiches down with a cold Carib beer was one of those perfect moments that come only when you’re traveling. A regular vacationer might just dream about going back to that place, but the chef in me wants to re-create those moments, as I do with this Crab Burger.
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeño chili, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 cup black beans, cooked, rinsed if canned
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 pounds jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Combine the garlic, jalapeño, cilantro, beans, and salt in a food processor and puree until smooth. Transfer the puree to a bowl and gently fold in the crabmeat and 2 tablespoons of the flour.
- Spread the remaining 2 cups flour on a plate. With wet hands, to prevent sticking, shape the crab mixture into 6 patties, 4 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. Dredge the patties in the flour, shaking off any excess.
- Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the patties, in batches if necessary, and cook for 4 minutes on each side.
- Serve at room temperature on toasted buns.