My mock crab cakes are a staple in a my house. Crab cakes and other seafood goodies were always verboten in the world of kosher dining as well as that of all diners who frown at eating seafood, until some inspired professional foodie recreated the texture and flavor with a plain-vanilla-type fish called pollock, and called it mock crab. Mock crab is processed minimally, so I have no trouble using it, in these mock crab cakes and several other fish treats. Mock shrimp, I’m told, is not quite as good as its genuine cousin, but it still does a pretty good job when combined with other ingredients for a soup, salad, or stew. I don’t think you will find more than a handful of fried dishes in this whole book, only those very few dishes whose flavor or texture would be compromised by cooking them any other way, and these mock crab cakes are just one of them. Guess what? I risked freezing a couple of these mock crab cakes, just to see what happens, and they were perfect! YAY!
You will love the red pepper coulis that accompany the mock crab cakes.
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 1 small bunch flat parsley
- 1½ pounds mock crab, thawed
- ½ cup fresh bread crumbs (from any plain loaf, including gluten-free)
- ½ cup flour, any flour including Gluten0Free
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons dashi powder, or 4 anchovies (settle for salt to taste. Just to be clear: usee salt only if you are not using dashi or anchovies)
- Ground pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- Zest of 1 lemon
Red Pepper Coulis: Pronounced Coo-lee, a fancy French word that just means a thick uncooked sauce (sounds more intriguing in French, now, doesn’t it?) Raw and bold and exuberant, perfect with plain cooked fish and chicken, fish cakes and terrines, even as a spread for sandwiches.
- 2 red peppers, seeded and cut in chunks
- ½ cup basil leaves, packed
- 2 large cloves garlic
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bottled hot sauce to taste
Purée all ingredients in a food processor a full minute until perfectly smooth. Makes 2 cups. Store refrigerated in a glass jar.
Tomato coulis: Substitute 4 plum tomatoes for the peppers, and proceed just as above.
Heat the oil in a large skillet, to come up about ½ inch. Keep the temperature at medium, not smoking, hot. In a food processor, finely grind the onion and parsley. Add the fish and pulse until you obtain a minced mixture. Don’t process longer, or you might lose the texture. Transfer to a bowl and add all remaining ingredients. Combine thoroughly. Add a little more bread crumbs if necessary to make the batter adhere. Form round patties about 1 inch thick and throw them in the skillet without crowding. Fry about three minutes on each side until golden. Transfer to a platter lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Serve hot with the red pepper coulis (recipe follows)