Open-Face Crab Burgers with Red Pepper DressingBon Appétit | May 2009

by Jeanne Thiel Kelley

(photo by: Antonis Achilleos)

The burger's undeniable appeal and infinite flexibility have inspired culinary luminaries like Bobby Flay and Laurent Tourondel to devote entire restaurants to the humble sandwich. And despite what purists might say, some of today’s best burgers aren't even made with beef. Patties made of lamb, bison, or seafood (like the crab burgers here) are increasingly popular. Toasted bread, a pita pocket, or even a lettuce leaf are fun standins for the traditional bun. In our homage to the modern burger, the crab patties are served open-face with a spicy red pepper dressing.

Yield: Makes 6 servings
1/4 cup mayonnaise (preferably organic)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced drained roasted red pepper from jar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon ketchup (preferably organic)
1 tablespoon hot chili sauce (such as sriracha)*
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel

Crab burgers:
1/4 cup mayonnaise (preferably organic)
1 large egg
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon hot chili sauce (such as sriracha)*
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons minced drained roasted red pepper from jar
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 pound fresh lump crabmeat, picked over
1 3/4 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs),* divided
3 3-to 4-inch ciabatta rolls, halved horizontally
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter plus more for rolls

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or vegetable oil
6 crisp heart of romaine lettuce leaves, trimmed to 6-inch length
For dressing: 

Mix all ingredients in small bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper.

For crab burgers: 

Whisk first 7 ingredients in large bowl. Mix in red pepper and green onion. Gently mix in crab and 3/4 cup panko. Sprinkle 1 cup panko on rimmed baking sheet. Using 1/4 cupful for each burger, shape crab mixture into twelve 3-inch patties. Press into crumbs on sheet to coat both sides; keep crab burgers on sheet. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill at least 1 hour.

Preheat broiler. Spread cut sides of rolls with butter. Broil rolls, buttered side up, until golden, about 2 minutes; cover.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter with oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, add burgers to skillet. Sauté until brown, about 5 minutes per side.

Arrange 1 roll half, cut side up, on each plate. Top each with lettuce leaf, then 2 crab burgers. Spoon dressing over.