When Kathleen Purvis requests a recipe, you know the dish has to be great. She described the crab and chorizo “pups” at Dogwood Southern Table & Bar as “very light and crisp, like really good crab cakes.”
Personally, I love the Latin twist with the addition of fresh corn and chorizo, but my favorite part is the poblano crema. I now plan to use it on just about everything.
Chefs Ryan Daugherty and Eric Litaker created the dish. Chef Eric said, “Ryan was making an amazing chorizo here at Dogwood, and I wanted to use it in a feature at lunch. We came up with the pups and the response was so overwhelmingly positive that we had to put the dish on full-time at dinner.”
The chorizo adds a really interesting and unexpected depth of flavor to the crab. Dogwood makes their own chorizo, using Heritage Farms pork, garlic, paprika, cumin, coriander and a touch of cayenne. I bought mine from the grocery store and removed it from the casing. Just be sure to use Mexican chorizo, not Spanish. Spanish chorizo is dried and cured, while the Mexican version is fresh and uncooked, so it crumbles nicely in the pan as it cooks.
A few tips on deep frying the delicate pups: Choose an appropriate oil with a higher smoke point. Dogwood uses peanut oil. Add the oil to a deep-sided pot filled no more than halfway (at least 4 inches from the top), to prevent splattering and ensure the pups will be fully submerged. Fry only a few pups at a time and use a spider strainer or a slotted fry ladle to gently place them into the oil. Chef Eric suggests adding a little more panko to the mix if the pups aren’t staying together.
Are you looking for a recipe from a Charlotte-area restaurant? Send your request to Jennifer Lover, email@example.com or on Instagram (@jenniferlover). Please include your name, why you like the recipe, the area where you live and the restaurant’s location. Lover is a creative director, stylist and cook who lives in Charlotte.
Dogwood Southern Table & Bar
Dogwood uses local farms and producers. Three they use in this recipe are: Pork from Heritage Farms in Seven Springs, heritagecheshire.com; poblano peppers from Harmony Ridge Farms in Tobaccoville, harmonyridgefarms.net; and radishes from Boy & Girl Farms in Monroe, boyandgirlfarm.com.
Crab & Chorizo Pups
From Dogwood Southern Table & Bar.
1/4 pound fresh Mexican chorizo (not Spanish)
1/2 cup mayonnaise, preferably Duke’s
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs, plus more for coating the pups
1 teaspoon shallot, minced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat
High smoke-point oil, such as peanut oil, for frying
Poblano Crema (see recipe)
Cilantro and radishes (optional; garnish)
Remove casing from chorizo if necessary. In a saute pan, cook chorizo, crumbling the sausage as you go. Thoroughly drain, reserving 1 tablespoon of liquid from pan. Set aside to cool.
Combine the mayonnaise, corn, green onions, mustard, 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs, shallot, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Add chorizo and reserved liquid and mix again. Fold in crabmeat gently to maintain large pieces of crab.
Portion pups into 1- to 1 1/2-ounce balls (using a small ice cream scoop works great) and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Roll each one in panko and place back on the sheet pan. Refrigerate pups before frying.
Place several inches of oil in a deep pot and heat to 350 degrees on a deep-fry or candy thermometer. Working with a few pups at a time, fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Serve pups on a pool of crema with a few cilantro leaves and thinly sliced radishes.
Yield: About 2 dozen pups.
2 cups poblano peppers (about 3 large peppers), stemmed, seeded and diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
About 2 cups heavy cream
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste
Put all vegetables in a saucepan and add enough cream to cover. Simmer slowly until vegetables are soft.
Using an immersion or counter-top blender, puree the cream mixture until smooth.
Whisk in lime juice and salt to taste. Chill crema before serving.