Crab Quinoa Cakes

Crab Quinoa Cakes with Avocado Cream

crab quinoa cakes:

  • 2/3 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 pound lump crab meat (no imitation crab!)
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (seeds discarded)
  • 1 small sweet yellow onion, diced
  • small handful of fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil

avocado cream:

  • 2 avocadoes
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Note:  I had intended to make these without any breadcrumbs, but found that I did need a little to help bind the mixture together to shape it into cakes.

Cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the box.  Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the crab, jalapeno, onion, parsley/cilantro, garlic, eggs, white wine vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, Old Bay and smoked paprika.  Stir in the hot, cooked quinoa.  Add the Panko, just enough to be able to form the mixture into cakes.  Resist the urge to add more Panko than called for - the cakes will be very moist and delicate, but you don't want to add more breadcrumbs, which will just dry out the cakes.

Heat a large cast iron skillet or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat until very hot.  While the pan is heating, shape the crab mixture into 12 cakes and set on a baking sheet.  Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil into the hot skillet.

Handling the cakes carefully, place 6 cakes in the hot skillet.  Cook for about 5 minutes, until they have a golden brown crust on bottom.  Turn the cakes over, being careful not to break them apart (I used two spatulas, using one to gently flip each cake over onto the other spatula, and not a single one broke), and cook for another 5 minutes.  Transfer to a clean baking sheet and keep warm in a 200-degree oven while you cook the remaining cakes, adding more oil as needed.  The cakes will have a crisp crust on top and bottom, with a creamy moist texture inside.

For the avocado cream, blend all ingredients together in a food processor and serve with the crab cakes.

We ate our cakes with a simple cucumber tomato salad, dressed with a light yogurt dressing of 2 heaping tablespoons Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper.

Yields 12 cakes (2-3 per person)

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen