The Champaign Center Partnership welcomes back the fourth annual Center City Restaurant Week, starting Sunday and running through Feb. 1. Throughout the week, local restaurants in downtown Champaign, Campustown and midtown will have special menus and pricing — with chances for diners to win prizes at each participating restaurant.
To get you salivating for the week of dining ahead, we are featuring Pekara Bakery and Bistro in downtown Champaign and its Restaurant Week menu. Pekara manager Alli Nisley shares the bakery's recipe for a crab cake slider that will be featured during Restaurant Week — and how to put together two more sliders with everyday ingredients that are probably already lurking in your fridge.
Pekara is known for its house-made breads, and it uses three kinds in these slider recipes: sourdough (local wild yeasts, extremely long fermentation and a wet dough yields a crust and crumb unlike any other); deli rye (a traditional rye bread garnished with caraway seeds that makes great toast); and multigrain (a hearty wheat bread with mixed grains and a slightly crunchy, soft interior).
For the breakfast slider, Nisley uses a sourdough bagel roll, ham, cheddar cheese and an organic egg. For the Reuben slider, she uses deli rye, house-made sauerkraut, hormone-free pastrami and thousand island dressing.
Here is a recipe you can try during Restaurant Week, then make for yourself.
Crab cake sliders
1 pound jumbo lump crab
11/4 cup house-made breadcrumbs
11/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup mayonnnaise
11/2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1 large egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
Drain the crab meat and pick through for shells. Whisk egg, mayo, Dijon, Old Bay, lemon juice, Worcestershire and salt. Pour over crab meat. Break up the meat, but do not overmix. Add bread crumbs and parsley. Again mix, but do not overmix. Cover and refrigerate for one to three hours.
Shape into eight cakes 1 inch thick. Heat olive oil and butter. Cook cakes four minutes on each side till golden brown. Serve on a multigrain roll with lettuce and Herlocher's mustard.
For more on Restaurant Week, visit champaigncenter.com.