Rhode Island Crab ‘n’ Johnnycake Burger
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup real Grade B maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon dark molasses
3/4 cup chopped blueberries
3/4 cup diced Green Delicious apple
1/2 cup diced sweet onion
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
12 slices Applewood-Smoked Bacon
1 cup water
1 cup white cornmeal (if available, you can use johnnycake meal)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 pounds crab meat
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 egg hamburger buns, split
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
To make Maple Butter, combine butter, maple syrup, and molasses in a small mixing bowl. Mix until well combined. Set aside.
To make Blueberry-Apple Salsa, in a small mixing bowl combine blueberries, apples, onion, lemon juice, and vinegar. Toss until well combined. Set aside.
To make bacon, heat 2 large fireproof non-stick skillets on the grill. Add 6 slices of bacon to each and cook until crispy, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
To make Johnnycakes, boil water in a small fireproof saucepan on the grill. Pour off some of the fat from skillets used to cook the bacon, leaving a tablespoon or two in each skillet. Add cornmeal and salt to a large mixing bowl. Add boiling water to cornmeal. Stir. Add milk. Stir. Place the skillets back on the grill over medium heat. Spoon the batter into the skillets, creating 3 thin burger-sized johnnycakes in each skillet (for a total of 6). Cook for 5-6 minutes per side so a crispy crust forms. Remove from heat.
To make the patties, in a large bowl combine crab, panko bread crumbs, egg, Old Bay, salt, and pepper. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the buns.
Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, just until done, about 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare. During the last few minutes of cooking, place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.
To assemble the burgers, spread a generous layer of Maple Butter on the cut side of the buns. On each bun bottom, place two slices bacon, Blueberry-Apple “Salsa,” a patty, a Johnnycake, and the bun tops.
Makes 6 burgers.