Saturday, February 28, 2015

Weekend Gourmet Flashback: Baked Crab Cakes with Avocado Crema and Mango-Avocado Salsa

Michael and I are busy taking care of last-minute errands and packing today before we hop on a plane and head to New Orleans and Biloxi. While we're there, we'll be learning all about how Gulf Seafood is harvested, processed...and cooked! This trip is being provided by the Gulf Seafood Marketing Council. I'll be coming back here and sharing all the great information I learn -- along with tons of great seafood recipes -- throughout March! To follow my live social media shares during our trip, follow me on Twitter @TheWeekendGourm and on Instagram @WEEKENDGOURMET!

To get you in a seafood mood today, I'm sharing one of my very favorite crab cake recipes with you. If you've got the Winter blahs, this dish will definitely give you a taste of Spring! My Baked Crab Cakes with Avocado Crema and Mango-Avocado Salsa are lighter in calories than fried crab cakes, and they're served with a duo of flavorful sauces. The crema is made with avocado and fat-free Greek yogurt flavored with lime, cilantro, and a bit of spice. The sweetly spicy salsa is flavored with honey, cilantro, and jalapeno. Be sure to allot an hour or two for the formed crab cakes to hang out in the fridge to firm up before baking. That gives you plenty of time to assemble the salsa, so it's all good!
Baked Crab Cakes with Avocado Crema
and Mango-Avocado Salsa
Inspired by The Food Network
For the crab cakes:
  • 1 lb. lump crab
  • 2 tbs. light mayo
  • 1 tbs. grainy mustard
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tbs. flat-leave parsley, chopped
  • 1-2 tbs. Old Bay
  • 2 tbs. Cajun seasoning, divided into 1-tbs. measures
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs, divided into 1/2-cup measures
  •  1 tbs. olive oil
For the salsa:
  • 1 medium avocado, diced
  • 1 medium mango, diced [NOTE: I prefer Altaufo mangoes)
  • 2 tbs. finely diced purple onion
  • 1-2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely minced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbs. honey
  • 1 tsp. cilantro
For the avocado crema:
  • 1 small or half a large avocado
  • 1/3 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 tsp. cilantro
  • 2 tsp. hot sauce of your choice [NOTE: I used Tabasco]
Step 1: Add the lump crab, light mayo, grainy mustard, lime zest and juice, green onions, parsley, Old Bay, salt, and 1/2 cup of the panko to a large mixing bowl. Gently combine all ingredients just until mixed, being careful not to break up the lumps of crab. Using clean hands, form into six crab cakes. Generously sprinkle with 1 tbs. of the Cajun seasoning, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Step 2: Make the salsa by adding the avocado, mango, green onion, purple onion, jalapeno, lime juice, honey, cilantro, and salt & pepper to a mixing bowl. Give the salsa a quick stir and set in the fridge until it’s time to assemble the crab cakes. [NOTE: If it’s going to be more than 3 hours before you plan to serve, wait to add the avocado until just before serving.]
Step 3: Preheat oven to 375. Place the chilled crab cakes on a baking sheet that’s lined with parchment or foil. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup of panko, the olive oil, and 1 tbs. of the Cajun seasoning in a small bowl. Stir until the mixture is thoroughly combined. Sprinkle the crumbs evenly on top of each crab cake, pressing a bit so they stick. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the crab cakes are heated through and the crumbs are golden-brown. Be sure to rotate the pan halfway through baking to ensure even browning.
Step 4: Just before serving, make the avocado crema by adding the avocado, Greek yogurt, lime juice, cilantro, Tabasco, and salt to a mixing bowl. Using a mixer, combine on low speed until a thick cream forms. Scrape down the sides, then combine on med speed for 30 seconds, until the mixture is creamy. Spoon the crema into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.
Step 5: To assemble the dish, use a spatula to spread approximately 1/3 cup of the avocado crema in a circular pattern on the center of each plate. Place 1-2 crab cakes on top of the crema, then spoon some of the mango-avocado salsa on top of each crab cake. This dish is gorgeous to look at -- and delicious to eat!

These crab cakes are so delicious that you'll never guess they have less fat and calories! The tangy avocado crema, the sweet lump crab, and the spicy-sweet salsa combine for a knockout of a dish. The panko provides nice crunch for a fraction of the fat that comes with frying. Each component of this dish tastes great, but together? It's a fiesta of flavor! We enjoy these crab cakes with baked tortilla chips as a complete meal, but you could certainly add a green salad too. If you’re an avocado lover, I hope you’ll add these crab cakes to your short list of ways to enjoy them very soon!

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