I’ll bet you have your Christmas meal planned but have you thought about New Year’s Eve yet? I have the perfect party appetizer for any holiday or special occasion – Crab Cakes with Thai Lemongrass Sauce! Packed with exotic flavors in every bite, these crab cakes will get you a round of applause!
Instead of the ordinary crab cakes, I thought I would head to Southeast Asia and incorporate the flavors of Thai cuisine. Unique and enticing, these crab cakes will have you planning your next vacation.
The primary flavor profile in today’s sauce is lemongrass, which can be challenging to find. I like using the products from Gourmet Garden which you find in the produce section. It makes it so easy. I buy extra of the ones I use the most often and keep them in the freezer. Then I don’t have any last minute rushes to the grocery store to buy herbs!
In Northern California, Dungeness crab is king, but you can use whatever is local to your area. If you can’t get fresh, you can use canned crab, just use one that is packed in water and be sure to rinse and drain it well before using.
I made these crab cakes in a small version for appetizers, but you can make them larger and serve them as a main course. You could even use them in your next Eggs Benedict in place of the English muffins for a special and indulgent treat!
The creamy Thai Lemongrass Sauce is incredibly luxurious and the perfect accompaniment to the crunchy, fried crab cakes. It would also be delicious served with grilled vegetables or tossed with pasta for a different take on the meal.
I hope you make these crab cakes and enjoy every bite! Have a wonderful weekend!
I used Schar’s gluten-free breadcrumbs as the binder to hold the crab cakes together. If you can’t find them, you can use your favorite gluten-free bread slices, toasted to dry them out and then pulsed in a food processor. The Schar’s line of products are sold on Amazon.
Gluten-Free Crab Cakes
- 1 lb crabmeat, preferably fresh
- 2 tbsp minced red bell pepper
- 2 tbsp minced yellow bell pepper
- 2 shallots, peeled and finely minced
- 3 tbsp gluten-free dry breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp Ian's gluten-free panko or crushed gluten-free crackers
- 5 to 6 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp minced fresh cilantro
- 1/2 tsp dried red chile flakes, or more if you want it spicy
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Pinch kosher or fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup canola oil, plus more if needed, for frying
Creamy Lemongrass Sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 shallots, peeled and minced
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 oz (1 tube) Gourmet Garden Lemongrass
- 2 tsp dried red chile flakes, or more if you want it spicy
- 1/2 to 1 tsp finely minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- Kosher or sea salt and freshly grated black pepper, to taste
- Zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
- 1/2 cup (1 stick, 2 oz) cold butter, cut into 1 tbsp pieces
- Thinly sliced green onions or dressed micro greens
- Halved cherry tomatoes
- Additional red and yellow bell pepper, minced very finely
- Lemon wedges
Prepare the Crab Mixture: Spread the crabmeat out onto a baking sheet. Pick through and remove any bits of shell and cartilage. Place crabmeat into a wire sieve and rinse well under cold running water. Set aside to drain the water, pressing gently to help release the liquid.
In a mixing bowl, combine the bell peppers, shallots, breadcrumbs, panko or crushed crackers, mayonnaise, egg, cilantro, chile flakes, lemon zest, and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Mix until evenly blended and smooth. Add the crabmeat and gently fold into the mixture. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
Make the Lemongrass-Cilantro Sauce: In a small skillet, heat oil over medium heat. When rippling, add the shallots and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring often, until softened. Remove from the heat before they start to brown. Set them aside to cool slightly.
In a medium saucepan, bring the half-and-half and cream to just below a boil over medium-high heat. Add the lemongrass, cilantro, chile pepper, ginger, shallots, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon zest and leave to steep for 20 to 30 minutes.
Form the Crab Cakes: Using a small spring-loaded scoop, portion out the crabmeat mixture into balls about 2 to 3 tbsp each. Gently form each into round, slightly flattened patties. Place the cakes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate to firm up, about 15 minutes.
Cook the Crab Cakes: Preheat the oven to the lowest setting, around 100°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place a wire rack over the top. Set baking sheet next to your stove.
In a 12-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Using an offset spatula, gently slip about half the chilled cakes into the oil. Cook in batches so the pan won’t be crowded. Cook until the crab cakes are golden brown and warmed through, about 2 minutes per side. Use a slotted spatula to transfer crab cakes to the rack on the prepared baking sheet. Keep warm in the oven.
Finish the Sauce: Set a fine wire sieve over a bowl and pour the cream sauce through it, straining out the solids. Discard solids. Return strained sauce to the pan and heat over medium heat to just below a boil again. Take off the heat and add butter, 1 tbsp at a time, whisking until the butter is melted and fully incorporated before adding the next piece. When all the butter has been added, taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
For Serving: Spoon a little sauce onto each plate. Top with 4 crispy crab cakes for a generous appetizer portion. Top each cake with a pinch of the green onions or microgreens and some tomatoes. Sprinkle the minced bell peppers around the plate and garnish with lemon wedges. Serve warm.
Jane Bonacci, The Heritage Cook © 2018 all rights reserved
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