Thursday, February 21, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Coconut Milk Crab Cakes with Lime Zest

I made crab cakes for Valentine’s Day last week and I forgot how much I enjoy a good crab cake. There are hundreds of recipes, in fact NW “foodie” and Delaware native, Tom Douglas has a cookbook specifically for various crab cakes.


Coconut Milk Crab Cakes with Lime Zest
From "I Love Crab Cakes! 50 Recipes for an American Classic" by Tom Douglas with Shelley Lance

Makes 8 crab cakes


- 1 can (13.5 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
- 1 pound crabmeat, drained, picked clean of shell and lightly squeezed if wet
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced, green and white parts
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups panko crumbs, divided
- 2 large egg whites
- Peanut or canola oil for frying
- Sweet chili sauce (see note)
- 4 lime wedges


1. Combine coconut milk and lime zest in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Continue to simmer until the milk is reduced by about one-third, adjusting the heat as necessary. (You should have about ¾ cup reduced coconut milk.) Transfer to a large bowl and refrigerate until cold.
2. When coconut milk is cold, add crab, green onions, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper, stirring to combine. Stir in 1 cup panko. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip egg whites to soft peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold whites into crab mixture gently but thoroughly.
3. Divide mixture into 8 portions, then flatten into patties. Pour remaining 2 cups panko into a shallow container. Dredge patties in the panko. If time permits, chill the cakes 30 minutes or more.
4. When ready to fry the cakes, place 2 large nonstick skillets over medium-high heat, and pour in enough oil to coat bottoms of the pans about 1/8-inch deep. When oil is hot, shake off excess panko from the patties, add 4 to each pan, and reduce heat to medium. Fry 3-4 minutes per side, turning once with a spatula, or until golden brown and heated through. Remove crab cakes from pans and drain on paper towels.
5. Transfer crab cakes to plates, serving 2 to each person, accompanied by ramekins of sweet chili sauce and lime wedges.

Note: Sweet chili sauce is a thin, orange-red sauce made from pounded chilies, sugar, salt, oil and vinegar. There are many brands from several Asian countries, but Tom Douglas uses the Mae Ploy brand from Thailand.