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Dinner Tonight! | QUICK FIX

Don't Get Crabby

April 25, 2001|MARY ELLEN RAE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Everybody knows about crab cakes, but you can make another kind of seafood cake using shrimp and scallops.

These seafood cakes make for a versatile and elegant dinner that can be put together in a short time.

If you prefer, you can substitute crab meat. Cooked shrimp saves time, too; if you buy raw shrimp, allow a few extra minutes to saute the shrimp before it gets chopped and mixed in with the rest of the seafood cake mixture.

Cilantro works well in the vinaigrette since it is one of the dominant flavors in the seafood cakes. A traditional tartar sauce or remoulade would be a tasty alternative to serve on the side.

The cakes can be made ahead and frozen for later use.

MENU

Seafood Cakes With Cilantro Vinaigrette

French Bread

SHOPPING LIST

1 bunch chives

1 large bunch cilantro

2 1/2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

1 red bell pepper

1 serrano chile

1 bag mixed salad greens

10 ounces sea scallops

6 ounces cooked shrimp

2 tomatoes

STAPLES

Dijon mustard

1 egg

Garlic

Olive oil

Parmesan cheese

Red onion

Shallots

Sugar

Vegetable oil

Whipping cream

White wine vinegar

GAME PLAN

30 minutes before: Dice shallot and red pepper. Chop shrimp and scallops. Mince chives and chop cilantro.

20 minutes before: Saute red pepper and shallot. Add to seafood cake mixture and form into 8 cakes. Start cooking cakes.

14 minutes before: Put cakes in oven. Divide greens among plates. Make vinaigrette.

Just before serving: Place cakes on plates, drizzle with vinaigrette and serve with French bread.

Seafood Cakes With Cilantro Vinaigrette

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Look for panko at Asian markets and well-stocked supermarkets.

SEAFOOD CAKES

Oil, for cooking

1 shallot, minced

1/4 cup minced red bell pepper

6 ounces peeled cooked shrimp

10 ounces sea scallops

2 1/2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs), divided

1 egg, beaten slightly

2 tablespoons whipping cream

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, divided

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons chopped chives

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

Heat a 10-to 12-inch skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot, add the shallot and red pepper. Cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Set them aside.

Chop the shrimp and scallops into pea-size pieces and place them in a large mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup panko, the beaten egg, whipping cream, 2 tablespoons of Parmesan, the cooked shallot and red pepper, the cilantro, chives, salt and pepper to taste. Stir together gently until combined. Form the mixture into 8 (2 1/2-to 3-inch) cakes. Place the remaining panko and Parmesan on a plate and stir to mix. Roll each cake in panko to coat and set aside.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.

Heat the same skillet over medium heat and add 1/4 cup oil. When the oil is hot, add the cakes and cook until lightly browned, then flip them. They should take 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove to the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

ASSEMBLY

Mixed greens for 4

1 shallot, diced

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1 small clove garlic, chopped

1 serrano chile, seeded and chopped (use gloves if you have sensitive skin)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tomatoes, sliced

8 very thin slices red onion, for garnish

While the cakes are baking, divide the salad greens among four plates.

To make the vinaigrette, puree the shallot, cilantro, garlic, chile, Dijon, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste in a blender, then slowly add the olive oil and blend until smooth. Set aside.

Place 2 seafood cakes on each plate. Garnish with sliced tomato and red onion. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the cakes and greens and serve.

4 servings. Each serving: 583 calories; 895 mg sodium; 166 mg cholesterol; 40 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 27 grams carbohydrates; 28 grams protein; 1.98 grams fiber.

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