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A&E >  Food

Shrimp Tastes Better Than Crab In Cakes

By Bev Bennett Los Angeles Times Service

My ideal summer meal is a mound of coleslaw, rye bread, crab cakes and a beer. It captures all the sensations of the season: briny seafood, fresh vegetables, hearty grains and, well, what’s summer without a beer?

But recently, while experimenting with my favorite menu, I made a little discovery: The cakes are better with shrimp!

Like most cooks, I usually prepare shrimp whole - boiled for salads, or simmered in soups and stews. However, I found that when I mince shrimp, it becomes a different ingredient. It can be formed into cakes and patties and holds together very well.

I also realized that unlike crab meat, shrimp is consistently sweet, and the price - one-third to one-half that of crab meat - is easy to swallow.

The recipe is no different than that for crab cakes. I use red bell peppers for color and texture and enough hot sauce for zing (but not enough to overwhelm the seafood), and bread crumbs and eggs to bind the mixture.

Purists would insist on tartar sauce. I don’t. To my taste, a piquant tomato salsa is just the touch that shrimp cakes need. Use ultrasweet cherry tomatoes if they’re available.

Here, then, is my recommendation for a great feast: coleslaw with a mayonnaise dressing, the best rye bread you can find, your favorite beer and Shrimp Cakes With Tomato Salsa.

Shrimp Cakes With Tomato Salsa

Tomato Salsa (recipe follows)

1/2 pound large raw shrimp, shelled, deveined and minced by hand

1 small red bell pepper, diced

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground white pepper

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1 tablespoon butter

Prepare salsa and set aside.

Place shrimp, red bell pepper, lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, salt, pepper to taste and egg in large bowl. Stir well. Stir in bread crumbs.

Melt butter in small skillet. Using 2 large spoons, shape shrimp mixture into 2 large cakes. Fry in skillet until golden on both sides, about 8 minutes on first side, 5 minutes on second. Serve hot with salsa on the side.

Yield: 2 servings.

Nutrition information per serving, without salsa: 324 calories, 11.6 grams fat (32 percent fat calories), 29 grams protein, 24 grams carbohydrate, 278 milligrams cholesterol, 975 milligrams sodium.

Tomato Salsa

1 cup cherry tomatoes

1 green onion, white and green parts, stem end trimmed off

1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

Salt, freshly ground pepper

Process tomatoes, onion, hot pepper sauce and oil in food processor until minced. Remove and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Yield: About 3/4 cup.

Nutrition information per serving: 70 calories, 3.8 grams fat (49 percent fat calories), 2 grams protein, 9 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 152 milligrams sodium.

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