Restaurant recipes

Restaurant Recipes at Home: Crab Meat Pies from Hudson House

Have you ever had something spectacular in a restaurant and thought, “I wish I knew how to make it at home?”

Perhaps it was a perfectly executed roast chicken, the skin crisp and the meat juicy. Or maybe it was something deliciously innovative, and you wondered how the chef came up with the idea, like crabmeat tater tots.

Brilliant, right? If you haven’t had a tater tot since grade school, you might want to head to Hudson House in Nyack to sample Chef Jeffery Kaufman’s original, grown-up version. He added them to the menu a little over a year ago. “I was looking for a way to give a new twist to our surf & turf,” he recalls.

Kaufman’s state-of-the-art toddlers have replaced the whipped potatoes originally served with the entree. They were so popular that they are now offered as a dish in their own right. “We sell a lot of sides,” he says.

Now that spring has arrived and the evenings are longer and lighter, it’s good to linger over happy hour, sip a second drink and share a snack to keep you going until dinner. You could do a lot worse than one of Hudson House’s craft cocktails and a plate of crispy, lightly smoked tater tots sprinkled with fresh, sweet crab.

But if you can’t get there, don’t worry. Kaufman is more than happy to share his secrets. “It’s a great recipe for someone to make at home,” he says. “There are only a few steps.” Even better? They can usually be prepared in advance and frozen. Then just put them in a pan and fry them before serving.

These tater tots are tasty on their own, but if you want to serve them with a sauce, Kaufman suggests “a lemony aioli,” which they sometimes use at Hudson House. A classic tartar sauce would also be delicious.

Crab Meat Bites

Makes 6-8 servings

For toddlers:

For the coating:

Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and smoked paprika and cook, stirring, until well incorporated, about 3 minutes. Stir in the milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Let cool.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Peel the potato and grate it using the large holes of a box grater. Blanch the potato in boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and rinse under cold running water.

Add the cooled potato, crabmeat and chives to the flour-milk mixture and stir to combine. Using two tablespoons, drop tater tot-sized balls (about 2 tablespoons) of the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

Pour canola oil into a large saucepan and heat to 325ºF.

Crab Meat Bites

Makes 6-8 servings

For toddlers:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 small garlic clove, minced

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika

2 cups of milk

1 large Yukon Gold potato

1 pound crabmeat in chunks, scooped up for shells

1/4 cup chopped chives

For the coating:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup instant potato flakes

3 cups canola oil, for frying

Kosher salt, for serving

Crab meat tater tots with lemon aioli at Hudson House in Nyack.

Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and smoked paprika and cook, stirring, until well incorporated, about 3 minutes. Stir in the milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Let cool.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Peel the potato and grate it using the large holes of a box grater. Blanch the potato in boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and rinse under cold running water.

Add the cooled potato, crabmeat and chives to the flour-milk mixture and stir to combine. Using two tablespoons, drop tater tot-sized balls (about 2 tablespoons) of the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

Pour canola oil into a large saucepan and heat to 325ºF.

Put the flour, eggs and potato flakes in separate small bowls. Working in batches, first dip the tater tots in the flour, then the eggs, then the potato flakes. Fry until crisp and golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and serve.