Parties That Cook’s March Madness Recipe: Slam Dunk Crab and Roasted Red Pepper Beignets

Oh, what’s going on in your town this weekend? Doesn’t matter. This weekend brings the Sweet Sixteen portion of the NCAA tournament, and we all know that’s about all you can handle. The one thing you can’t forget to pack for your marathon on the couch: the remote sustenance. So while you could just make this delicious Avocado and Persimmon Guacamole, or these tasty Shrimp Quesadillas with Tomatillo Salsa, Parties That Cook challenges you to think outside the box. Try these slam dunk Crab Roasted Red Pepper Beignets! Not only do they taste like a slam dunk, but you can literally dunk them into the deliciously satisfying herbed aioli. (And one?!) The crowd goes wild.

Crab and Roasted Red Pepper Beignets with Herbed Aioli
This recipe can also be found in our Appetizer Recipe Library!

1 large red bell pepper
1 cup AP flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 Tablespoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2/3 cup milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 scallions, minced
Zest and Juice of one lemon
12 ounces crabmeat, picked over
1 cup frozen corn kernels
4 cups canola oil, for frying

Herbed Aioli:
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup canola oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tablespoon chopped basil
1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon chopped tarragon
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Roast Pepper(s): Roast pepper(s) over a gas burner until blackened all over, turning with tongs as each side is blistered. (Alternatively, place under broiler). Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, let stand about 15 minutes. Peel and discard skins, stems and seeds. Cut the pepper into 1/4-inch dice and set aside.

Make Batter: In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the cornmeal, baking powder, salt and pepper. Stir in the milk and beaten egg. Mince the scallion, zest and squeeze the lemon and add to the batter. Fold in the crabmeat, corn kernels, and diced red pepper. Let the batter rest for 5 minutes.

Fry Beignets: Set-up a cooling rack over a baking sheet. In a large high sided frying pan, heat 2-3 inches of canola oil to 350°F. Once the oil is hot, drop a heaping teaspoon or tiny scoop of batter into the oil. Fry until golden, about 1 minute per side. Check size of fried beignet and see if beignet is cooked all the way through. Then taste it to make sure it tastes good. Re season and make smaller if necessary. Once satisfied, fry the rest of the batter, without crowding the pan. Drain the beignets on the wire rack and keep warm in the oven while you fry the rest. Repeat with the remaining batter, adjusting the heat if the beignets brown too quickly.

Make Aioli Base: Place the egg, egg yolk and mustard into a medium bowl. Using a whisk, blend until thick (about 15-20 seconds). In a liquid measuring cup, combine the olive and canola oils. While whisking, add the oil drop by drop into egg mixture. Once a thick paste starts to develop you can slowly drizzle the oil into the bowl. Continue to do this in a slow, steady stream until all of the oil has been added. Do not add the oil too quickly and be sure that the emulsion is stable (has absorbed the oil) before adding more oil.

Flavor Aioli: Mince the garlic and juice the lemon. Add to the aioli. Finely chop the basil, cilantro and tarragon and whisk into the aioli. If the mixture becomes too thick, whisk in 2 or 3 tablespoons warm water to thin the mayonnaise and make a fluid sauce. Season the aioli with the salt. Taste and re season if necessary. Transfer to a small decorative bowl and garnish with an herb sprig.

Serve: Serve warm beignets on a platter with the bowl of herbed aioli.


Makes about 40 – 1 inch round Beignets and 2 cups Aioli

Recipe created by Parties That Cook® | www.PartiesThatCook.com.

Parties That Cook’s March Madness Recipe: Almond-Orange Butter Cake with Ginger Crème Anglaise

Good food: bringing people together since before you were born. A great example of this is Parties That Cook’s Almond-Orange Butter Cake with Ginger Crème Anglaise. Did I stress the “Orange” part enough? This Sweet (Sixteen) treat is perfect for March Madness AND the upcoming Giant’s Season! Invite your Elite Eight friends over to watch the NCAA brackets narrow, or take the MLB preseason time you have left to practice this game-winning recipe! After all, WE TALKIN’ BOUT PRACTICE!

Almond-Orange Butter Cake with Ginger Crème Anglaise
You can find this recipe and other great dessert recipes in our Dessert Recipe Library!


3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons sugar

3 ounces almond paste or marzipan, cold
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar
5 ounces unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon orange oil (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest, finely chopped or grated
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Ginger Crème Anglaise:
3-inch knob of ginger, peeled
2 cups milk
1/2 vanilla bean, slit down the length of the bean
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar

Orange slices and toasted almonds


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Prepare Ramekins: Using a pastry brush, brush 8 ramekins with melted butter. Coat each ramekin with sugar, tapping any extra sugar.

Cake: Process the almond paste in a food processor until it is in small pieces (1/8″ in size) then place in a large bowl. Add the sugar and mix well, using a hand or stand mixer. Add the soft butter and continue to mix until it is pale and fluffy. Break the eggs into a separate small bowl and add the vanilla, orange oil and grated orange zest and beat lightly to combine. With the mixer running, add egg mixture to the butter mixture in small batches, approximating one egg at a time, waiting for each addition to be fully incorporated before adding the next (the mixture might look a little curdled and this is fine).

Sift Dry Ingredients: Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a small bowl.  Add these dry ingredients into the butter/egg mixture all at once and mix in gently just until incorporated. Do not over mix or the cake will be tough.

Bake Cake: Divide the batter evenly among the ramekins. Place the ramekins onto a sheet pan and place into the  pre-heated oven. Bake for about 20 minutes.  If it is browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil.  When the cake is springy to the touch, is starting to pull away from the sides, and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, it is done.  Cool on a rack for 10 minutes in the pan, and then turn out onto a serving plate to cool completely.

Blanch Ginger: Slice ginger into 1/4” thick slices.  Place in a small saucepan with cold water and bring to a boil.  Drain and reserve the ginger.

Make Crème Anglaise: In a medium saucepan, add the milk.  Scrape out the vanilla seeds and add them to the milk along with the rest of the vanilla bean. Add the blanched ginger.  Turn the heat to medium-high and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Let sit for about 10 minutes to steep. Beat the yolks and sugar together until well-blended and thick.  Temper the yolks by slowly stirring in the hot milk. Pour the yolk/milk mixture back into the saucepan. Heat the mixture, stirring constantly, until thick. The mixture is ready when it thickly coats the back of a spoon, and a line drawn with your finger remains intact or when the temperature reaches 160°F.  Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl over and an ice bath.  Chill until ready to serve.

Serve: Pour some of the crème Anglaise onto a plate.  Place a cake on top.  Garnish with oranges  and toasted almonds.

Serves 8

Recipe adapted by Parties That Cook® www.PartiesThatCook.com from Joanne Weir.