I have been making crab cakes from the same recipe for years, but at my recent cooking bootcamp at the Culinary Institute of America I learned a new one. In this recipe shrimp paste is used as the binder to hold the crab cakes together.
makes 12 cakes difficulty: medium prep time: 1 hr
- 6 oz rock shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 3 scallions, chopped
- zest from one lime
- 1 tbs lime juice
- 6 oz Dungeness crab meat
- 1/2 cup crushed Panko bread crumbs (for the mixture)
- 2 cups Panko bread crumbs (for breading)
- 1 cup flour
- 3-4 eggs, beaten
- canola or vegetable oil for frying – amount will depend on the size of your pan
Grind the rock shrimp meat in a food processor until it forms a paste.
Add the egg white, and process to incorporate. Then add the cream to the mixture – 2 tbs at a time, running the food processor for a few seconds each time. When you have added all the cream, you should have a mayonnaise-like mousse.
Heat a saute pan, and then add the olive oil. Saute the shallots on low to medium heat until translucent – about 5 min, and remove from the heat. Add the scallions, lime zest and lime juice and set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the crab meat, shrimp mousse and the sweated ingredients (shallots, scallions, lime zest and juice). Fold together, and season with 1 tbs salt and ground pepper to taste. Add the crushed panko bread crumbs and mix well. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
Prepare your breading station: place the flour, beaten eggs and panko bread crumbs in separate bowls, and line them up in that order.
Using a spoon or an ice cream scoop, scoop one rounded table spoon of the crab mixture, and put it in the flour bowl.
And here is something very useful I learned in the Culinary Institute of America bootcamp: when breading things to be fried, designate one of your hands as the dry hand and the other one as the wet hand. You use the dry hand to dip the cake in the flour and the panko bread crumbs, and use the wet hand to dip into the egg mixture. This trick avoids both of your hands being covered with the breading mixture.
Use your dry hand to coat the scoop of crab mixture with flour.
Using your dry hand, pick up the floured cake, and drop it in the egg mixture. Using your wet hand, roll the cake into the egg mixture, and when well covered, pick it up and shake it lightly so that excess egg mixture drops. Drop the cake into the panko bread crumbs, and using your dry hand roll it around to cover it with bread crumbs. Pick it up and press it lightly between the palms of your hands to flatten it slightly.
The formed crab cakes should look like this:
Take a heavy fry pan, and fill it with enough canola or vegetable oil so that the oil comes up to half the height of the crab cakes. Heat the oil till it’s is shimmering. Still, to test the hotness of the oil, drop a breadcrumb or a few drops of the egg mixture into it. If the oil is hot enough whatever you drop in it should start sizzling immediately. You want the oil to be hot enough for frying before you drop the crab cakes because otherwise they will just absorb oil without cooking.
Place the cakes carefully in the hot oil, and fry them until golden on one side. Flip them and fry until they are golden on the other side. Remove from the oil and place on a sheet trey lined with paper towels.
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