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Richard Rudisill

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Crab cakes served over fresh corn grits

Feeling a Bit Crabby

By Troy Gagliardo | Photography by Richard Rudisill

Posted: Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014

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Chef Troy Gagliardo

Chef Troy Gagliardo is a self-taught chef that has parlayed his years of kitchen experience into many other culinary ventures. Including designing and developing his all-grilled restaurant concepts, a proprietary spice line, cook books, commercials, food styling, cooking/restaurant columns, endorsements, cooking classes, and live appearances. Troy has been voted as one of the Charlotte’s Top Five Chefs two years in a row by Creative Loafing readers and competed in the Iron Fork competition both years. Chef Troy has appeared in two national commercials with NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. and joined him for a media tour day just days before Dale Jr. won his second Daytona 500 to start the 2014 NASCAR season.For the past seven years, Chef Troy has appeared each week on Charlotte's morning show WCCB News Rising, cooking his way through "Troy’s Everyday Eats". Filmed live each week at the WCCB Charlotte studios, Chef Troy teaches his unique style of food with a simple approach directed toward the home-cook/viewer.His feature on Rising began in August of 2007, and since has become the most anticipated part of the show. During that time Troy has prepare over one thousand of his creative original recipes live on-air and has made several cooking appearances on the night time show, WCCB News Edge. Chef Troy teamed up with The Fresh Market as a sponsor for “Troy’s Everyday Eats" in April of 2011. Troy shops each week at The Fresh Market for the ingredients used on the show, he says, "The Fresh Market sponsorship is something I have pursued for a long time. I love shopping at their markets because everything is always so fresh. They have a large variety of organic and sustainable food options. As a consumer and chef, I couldn't ask for anything more". Warren publishing recently signed Chef Troy to publish his new cookbook entitled Pseudo Southern-a playful twist on the art of southern cooking, which has been endorsed by Top Chef Alum and best-selling author Fabio Viviani and also star of “A Chef’s Life” Vivian Howard. Fabio said of Pseudo Southern, "Southern food is my second home. It's as close to my heart like Italy is, and that is why I love Troy's recipes so much. They remind me of the childhood I would have had if I was born in the south”. Vivian had this to say, “Troy’s take on southern food is just left of center, fun, and refreshing. His recipes are approachable that even the most jaded cook will be intrigued to try.” Chef Troy is also a free-lance food writer for the Charlotte Observer and and lives in Mooresville, NC with his wife Tracy, of twenty-three years, and their two daughters, Ally and Isabella. He can be seen every Tuesday morning from 7-9 am on WCCB News Rising.

Crab and corn…is a match made in heaven. Fresh creamy corn and succulent buttery crab are the perfect match for each other. It could be as easy as folding crab claw meat into creamed corn or topping a corn salsa with huge chunks of lump crab meat. Both are refreshing and light, the perfect qualities for this dish.

I call this style of cooked corn fresh grits. Why…you ask? Because grits are no more than dried corn that is ground and cooked to make soft. Fresh summer corn, right of the cob, cooked and processed until smooth. Only slight chunks of corn remaining as it is cooked down with a bit of cream to give it a creamy, velvety texture. The perfect complement to simply done, overly crabby, simple all-crab-crab-cakes.

Combine the ingredients without the crab first. Add the lump crab meat at the end and folding in gently to keep the crab in large pieces. What you have, when portioned and formed into patties, is a true crab cake. Full of crab and not a bunch of filler.

Pan fry the crab cakes until golden brown and just warmed through. Place these over the piping hot creamy fresh grits and serve. Light, refreshing and truly summer.

For more great recipes from Chef Troy visit and be sure to catch Troy on WCCB Charlotte’s Rising morning show every week 7-9 am for “Troy’s Everyday Eats” cooking show.

Crab Cakes Over Fresh Grits

• 6 Tablespoons-Unsalted Butter

• 2 Each-Green Onion-sliced thin, whites separate from green stem

• 2 Cloves-Garlic-chopped fine

• 1 Each-Egg-beaten

• ¼ Cup-Mayonnaise

• 1/4 Cup-Panko Bread Crumbs

• 1 Pound-Jumbo Lump Crab Meat

• To Dredge-Corn Meal

Fresh Grits

• 3 Strips-Thick Cut Bacon-sliced into thin strips

• 4 Ears-Corn on the Cob-parboiled, oiled, seasoned and charred on grill

• ¼ Cup-Red Onion-fine dice

• 2 Coves-Garlic-chopped fine

• I Each-Jalapeno Pepper

• To Taste-Kosher Salt/Black Pepper

• ¼ Cup-Heavy Cream

• 2 Tablespoons-Blue Cheese-crumbled, plus extra for garnish

• 1 Tablespoon-Fresh Basil-chopped, plus extra for garnish

• 1 Each-Roma Tomato-diced


1. Warm a sauté pan over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of butter.

2. When melted add green onion, garlic and cook for one minute.

3. About 5 minutes, stirring frequently and set aside to cool.

4. Mix together egg, mayo, add cooled onion mixture, bread crumbs, mix well.

5. Gently fold in crab to incorporate, try not to break up crab meat.

6. Form into 8 patties and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour, can be done a day ahead of time.

7. Cut corn off cob and crap cobs to remove tip of corn and starchy liquid.

8. For fresh grits warm a pot over medium high heat, add bacon and cook until slightly crisp.

9. Remove bacon and drain on a paper towel lined plate.

10. Add half the corn, onion, garlic and jalapeno and cook to soften onion, 2-3 minutes.

11. Add salt/pepper, stir to incorporate and add cream.

12. Warm cream through, about 3-5 minutes stirring frequently.

13. Remove from heat and allow to cool too slightly.

14. Place a small amount of cream/corn mixture in food processor/blender, pulse to start process.

15. Puree corn/cream mixture until smooth add remaining corn and pulse to chop slightly.

16. Place corn back in pan and add basil/blue cheese.

17. Stir to melt and add a touch of cream if corn is too thick.

18. Keep warm over low heat until ready to serve.

19. Heat a non-stick pan to medium high heat and place corn meal in a plate.

20. Dredge each crab cake in corn meal to coat top/bottom of cake.

21. Add 2 tablespoons of butter in non-stick pan to melt over medium high heat.

22. Working in batches, four cakes, cook until golden brown on both sides.

23. About 3 to 4 minutes per side, drain on a paper towel lined plate.

24. Repeat with an additional 2 tablespoons of butter and remaining crab cakes.

25. Ladle fresh grits on individual plates, top with crab cakes, garnish with basil, blue cheese, bacon and serve.

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