Sear up Some Japanese Inspired Crab Cakes Tonight

By Jessica Marko, Culinary Institute in Hyde Park, NY

As summer quickly fades away, so do the barbecues, cookouts, ice pops, light salads and cold soups.  Along with the crisp autumn air comes the fresh apples, autumn leaves, and a whole new flavor profile of warm spices, hearty meals and hot cider!  Before completely moving into the autumn flavor profile however, I wanted to make one last ‘summertime’ appetizer, a classic with a twist.  These Japanese-inspired crab cakes have the basics of a classic crab cake but are enhanced by the refreshing ingredients so commonly found in Asian cuisine.   

 

Japanese-Inspired Crab Cakes (Makes 50-60)

You'll need:

  • 2 lb lump or jumbo lump crab meat (cooked)
  • ¾ cup chopped scallions
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • ¾ cup mayo
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
  • Flour – for breading
  • About 3 eggs – for breading
  • Panko- for breading

To make the crab cakes, begin by picking through the crab meat to make sure there are no shells. Be careful not to break apart the crab too much.  Squeeze out any excess liquid and combine the crab meat with the scallions, ginger, lime juice, mayo, soy sauce, cayenne pepper and sesame seeds.  I didn’t use breadcrumbs or eggs to bind the cakes because I didn’t want to use any fillers.  Instead, each bite is full of crab, sweet and soft, with the zing of ginger, and under tone of garlic and the brightness of the scallions.  Stir to combine, then taste and adjust seasonings to your preferences.  Form the cakes into the size of your choice.  I made two bite cakes which was about 1 tbsp of mixture each, but they can be made bigger or smaller. Once they are formed and shaped bread them in flour, then egg and finally panko. Instead of using breadcrumbs to coat the outside, I used panko, a traditional Japanese breadcrumb that gives a lighter feel, crispier outside and a more subtle flavor.  When it comes to panko, pick one with smaller flakes.  If the panko is large simply break it apart in a bag, by rolling a rolling pin over it until it becomes finer. To cook the cakes sear them in a pan with oil until golden brown on both sides.

Step by Step Directions:

1. Begin by picking through the crab meat to make sure there are no shells.  Be careful not to break apart the crab too much.

2. Squeeze out any excess liquid

3. Combine the crab meat with the scallions, ginger, lime juice, mayo, soy sauce, cayenne pepper and sesame seeds  

4. Stir to combine, and taste and adjust to your preferences

5. Form the crab cakes, using about 1 tbsp of mixture each

6. Bread the cakes in flour, egg and then panko

7. Sear the cakes in a pan with oil until golden brown

Then, the sauce! Instead of the classic tartar sauce I made a wasabi-ginger mayo which added a slight kick to the dish.  The mayo can be made in advance and will be good for a day or two, just check the flavor and adjust before serving.   In a bowl combine mayo, ginger and wasabi.  You can buy already prepared wasabi in a tube, or buy the powder, which needs to be rehydrated in water. 

For Wasabi-Ginger Mayo:

 

  • ½ cup mayo
  • 1 tbsp wasabi powder
  • 1 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp grated ginger
  • Chives for garnish

Rehydrate wasabi powder with water and let sit for a minute or two. In a bowl combine mayo, ginger and wasabi

To serve, reheat the crab cakes in the oven until they are warm throughout.  Spoon a small amount of wasabi-mayo on top and garnish with a piece of chive, cut to about ¾ - 1 in long. These crab cakes are just as easy to make as typical crab cakes but are sure to be a welcomed spin on the classic! 

For more recipes and blogs by Jessica visit The Art of Eating.