Dungeness Crab Arancini
Crème Fraiche and Lemon
Arancini are great do-ahead holiday hors d’oeuvres you can prepare and freeze until frying. They also keep their heat well so you can fry them at home, take them to your party and simply re-crisp them in the oven.
Makes 20 / Prep Time: / Total Time:
Prepare the arancini:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Combine the rice, salt, and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover tightly, transfer to the oven, and bake until all of the water is absorbed, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir the rice once or twice; it should be moist and creamy like risotto.
- While the rice cooks, use your fingers to pick through the crabmeat and remove any bits of shell or cartilage. Squeeze the crabmeat well to remove any excess moisture.
- Transfer the hot rice to a bowl. Add the crabmeat, crème fraîche, lemon zest, lemon juice, and tarragon and fold to combine. Taste for salt.
- Spread the mixture evenly on a rimmed sheet pan and cover with plastic wrap, piercing the plastic in a few places to allow steam to escape. Refrigerate until the mixture is cold, at least 2 hours.
- With moistened hands, roll the rice mixture into balls a little smaller than a golf ball and place them on a tray. (A 1-ounce scoop or a mounded tablespoon will yield balls of about the right size.) You should have enough mixture to make 20 balls.
Bread the arancini:
- Place the flour, beaten eggs, and breadcrumbs in separate small bowls. Have a clean sheet pan ready.
- Designate one hand as your “dry” hand and the other as your “wet” hand. With the dry hand, drop a ball into the flour and shake the bowl gently to coat the ball on all sides.
- Using the dry hand, pick up the ball, shake off any excess flour, and drop the ball into the beaten eggs. Shake the bowl gently to coat the ball well
- With your wet hand, lift the ball out of the eggs, letting any excess drip back into the bowl. Transfer to the bowl with the breadcrumbs and shake the bowl to coat evenly.
- Use your dry hand to transfer the coated ball to the clean sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining balls.
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day. You can also freeze the balls on the pan, then transfer them to resealable plastic bags and freeze for up to 1 month.
Fry the arancini:
- Set a rack on a sheet pan and place near the stove.
- Pour the oil to a depth of 3 to 4 inches into a deep, heavy saucepan and heat to 350°F. (If frying frozen balls, heat the oil to 325°F.) The pan should be no more than half full.
- Fry the balls, a few at a time, adjusting the heat as needed to keep the oil temperature at 350°F. Do not crowd the balls in the pan or the oil temperature will drop. They are ready when they are golden brown all over, about 3 minutes if freshly made or 5 minutes if frozen. Using a wire-mesh skimmer, transfer the balls to the rack to drain.
Serve warm, not hot. You can keep the arancini warm on the rack in a low oven for up to 1 hour. Finish with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice just before serving.