Nothing says warm-weather entertaining to me like these vibrant, tropical “sandwiches.” I use very little breading in the cakes, which leaves room for lots of sweet lump crabmeat. When the crab combines with the fresh avocado salsa and smooth mango coulis, it makes for a delicious, bright, and beautiful dish.
SERVES 4 TO 6
2 cups canola oil
8 ounces Maine or Dungeness crabmeat
1 cup dry bread crumbs, plus more for breading
¼ cup mayonnaise or aioli
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions, white and tender green parts
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1½ tablespoons finely diced red bell pepper
1½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg, beaten
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
Heat 1 cup of the oil in a 10-inch sauté pan set over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium. Check the temperature of the oil with a thermometer. It should read 375°F.
While the oil is heating, combine the crabmeat, the 1 cup bread crumbs, and the mayonnaise, onion, scallions, lemon juice, bell pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco in a medium mixing bowl. Mix until fully incorporated. Form four to six 3-ounce crab cakes.
Place the flour, egg, and extra bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Season the flour with the salt and pepper. Dredge the crab cakes in the flour, dip them into the beaten egg, and bread them lightly with bread crumbs. Lay the cakes in the hot oil and pan-fry for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove and place on a paper towel.
To serve the crab cakes, spoon some coulis onto each plate, forming a small pool. Slice a crab cake in half and lay the bottom portion in the coulis. Spoon some avocado salsa on top, and place the top of the cake on the salsa like a sandwich. Top with a small amount of salsa and garnish with a cilantro leaf.
MAKES 3 CUPS
2 avocados, pitted, peeled, and cut into small dice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
Combine the avocados, lime juice, onion, cilantro, oil, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Mix well and refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.
MAKE 4½ CUPS
2 mangos, peeled, pitted, and coarsely chopped
2 cups water
1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar
Combine the mangos, water, and confectioners’ sugar in a blender and mix until smooth. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.