bits and pieces

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tropical Crab Cakes of Glory

Can I haz? Yes you can haz!

This is one of my favourite recipes. I have been hesitant to post it because this is one of those foods that I've made 394 times, and don't really have a recipe. I have more of a 'feel' for these crab cakes. Is that creepy? Wrong? Crustaceany? On which note - if anyone from the Superbowl blow out has pictures of these little beauties - please send them my way.

Crab cakes are a particular thing. Some people like them big, some like them small, some like them with pretty much just crab, others like them jammed full of fun. I'm sure these aren't everyone's crab cake, but I LOVE them. They're light, and fun, and feel moderately asian because of the panko. Note: if you do not have a box of panko in your kitchen for cooking, go out and buy one immediately. Now. Seriously. I'll wait here.
I make this normally with pollock/imitation crab. Not only is it drastically cheaper, but I think it works better here. The pollock is lighter and won't make your crab cakes wet and thick. Sometimes you get order crab cakes and they arriving looking, feeling, and tasting like they're tuna-fish patties. Not fun. Never fear, loyal blog readers (all 3 of you - hi dad!), these aren't your thick heavy crab cakes. Compared to those fat bottomed girls, these are the light and fluffy Kate Moss of crabcakes. Of course you can always deep fry these which pretty much eliminates any pretense of healthiness you might have clung to. That said, I normally bake these and I adore them.
The last great thing about this recipe is its variability. You can swap the pineapple out for mango, apple, carmelized onions, etc. You can change the peppers for tomato or for blue cheese. The ginger for roasted garlic. ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES. ENDLESS CRAB CAKES. CRAB CAKES FOR LIFE. LOVE THE CRAB. BE THE CRAB. Basically, pick a flavour profile, and swap it in. I promise you won't regret it.

ingredients:
about 1 cup of crab/imitation crab, roughly but finely chopped
2-3 tbsp mayo
1 tsp lime juice (sometimes I add the zest for extra POW)
1/4 cup green onions/scallions, minced
1/4 cup pineapple, finely chopped
1/4 cup red pepper, finely chopped
a nugget of ginger, minced/garlic pressed (less ginger vs. more - this should be a delectable hint of ginger as opposed to a kick to the face)
1 egg + 1 egg white, beaten together until a little bit frothy
PANKO. The breadcrumbs of the gods. The amount will depend on your ingredients so have 1 - 2 cups on hand
salt and pepper to taste

things you'll need:
a baking tray
a mixing bowl
saran wrap
a soup spoon
a 1/4 cup measure (see below):

  1. Lightly grease a baking tray. If you have some on hand, line it with parchment paper. If not, don't worry.
  2. In a bowl, add all of your ingredients BUT the panko. Mix them together well so that they're combined and everything is coated in egg/mayo/lime juice/etc.
  3. Add your panko sloooooowly. You want to add ONLY enough so that your mixture sticks together well when smushed. Don't be afraid of using your hands - if it stays in a ball when rolled all together - you're good to go. If you fear you've added too much panko, add some mayo and remix. They should stick together like wet, weird, crabfilled, sort of sticky cookie dough. Bad analogy but you get the idea. I hope.
  4. Using your trusty soup spoon, fill the 1/4 cup measure with crab cake mixture, packing it FIRMLY. Then take your packed 1/4 cup measure, and place it upside down on your baking sheet. SMACK it a few times with your noble spoon, and the crab cake mixture should fall out onto the baking sheet formed in a happy little cake shape. Repeat until you've covered your tray/run out of crab cake mixture. This should make roughly 10 crab cakes.
  5. Cover your tray with saran wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour and a half.
  6. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Take your crab cakes out of the fridge and allow to sit for 15 minutes and return to room temperature.
  7. Bake for 6 - 8 minutes per side / until golden and baked looking. Enjoy with a variety of sauces such as citrus aioli, balsamic reduction, mango salsa, etc.

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