2000s Recipes + Menus

Saffron Shrimp Crab Cakes

Makes24 small cakes
  • Active Time:1 1/2 hr
  • Start to Finish:1 1/8 hr
October 2005

For sauce

  • 1 cup crème fraîche
  • 1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chliles in adobo
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For shrimp crab cakes

  • 1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil plus additional for brushing
  • 1/2 cup diced (1/8-inch) onion
  • 1/4 cup diced (1/8-inch) carrot
  • 1/4 cup diced (1/8-inch) celery
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lb medium shrimp in shell (31 to 35 per lb), peeled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped shallot
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1/8 lb jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
  • Special equipment:

    parchment paper

Make sauce:

  • Pulse all sauce ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and chill, covered, until ready to use.

Make shrimp crab cakes:

  • Sprinkle saffron into water in a 1-quart heavy saucepan and boil over moderately high heat until liquid is reduced to 1 tablespoon, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl, then cool completely.
  • Heat oil (1 tablespoon) in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook onion, carrot, and celery, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
  • Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 400F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly brush parchment with oil.
  • Whisk together 1 egg, cream, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  • Pat shrimp dry and transfer half of shrimp to clean food processor, then add saffron reduction, shallot, garlic, chipotle, and 1/2 cup panko. Purée until smooth, then, with motor running, add egg mixture in a slow stream, blending until just incorporated.
  • Chop remaining shrimp very coarsely (about 1/3-inch pieces) and stir together with remaining 1/2 cup panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and carrot mixture. Lightly beat remaining egg and stir into shrimp and vegetable mixture along with shrimp purée, then fold in crabmeat until just combined.
  • Loosely fill a 1/4-cup measure with crab mixture and drop onto a lined baking sheet. Make about 23 more cakes in same manner, dropping onto baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Flatten tops gently to form 2 1/2-inch-wide cakes (about 1 inch high) and bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until tops are lightly browned, about 15 minutes total. Serve shrimp crab cakes with sauce on the side.
Cooks' notes: Shrimp crab cakes can be baked 1 day ahead and cooled completely, then chilled, covered. Reheat in a 350ºF oven until hot, about 15 minutes.

Sauce can be made 3 days ahead and chilled, covered. Stir before serving.
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