Shiitake Crab Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper and Asparagus Sauce

Shiitake Crab Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper and Asparagus Sauce

Crab cakes really hit the spot when craving a guilty pleasure. Adding Shiitakes and using red pepper and asparagus in a sauce added a new dimension to the traditional cakes. The sauce provides an exceptionally nice contrasted when served chilled with the warm cakes.

Here's what you'll need:

About ½ lb. crab meat, chunked
1 bunch green onions, chopped
½ c. sour cream
2 c. (or slightly more) Panko bread crumbs
⅓ c. Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Garlic powder
3 c. Shiitakes, stems removed and thinly sliced
1 small shallot
½ small white onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. tarragon
2 Tbsp. parsley
1 Tbsp. chives
1 tsp. or more red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. celery flakes
2 eggs plus 2 tbsp. water, beaten
1 c. flour
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 c. coconut oil, or other frying oil

Heat the olive oil in a skillet, add garlic, white onion, and shallot. When soft, add Shiitakes. Add thyme, tarragon, salt, pepper, chives, red pepper, and celery flakes when almost done. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine crab meat, sour cream, 1 cup of the Panko bread crumbs, green onions, Parmesan, and lemon juice. Add garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Mix in cooled mushroom mixture. Add more bread crumbs if it is not sticky enough.

On a plate, combine the flour with salt, pepper, and a little thyme and sage. Beat the eggs and water together in a bowl. Pour the remaining cup of Panko bread crumbs on another plate. Form small cakes, and coat them first in the flour, then in the egg mixture, and finally, in the Panko bread crumbs.

Heat the coconut oil in an iron skillet until sizzling. Add the crab cakes and cook until dark golden brown, keeping an eye on the oil so it doesn't overheat. Pat off excess oil from cakes and serve with sauce, fresh sprouts and a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar.

Roasted Red Pepper and Asparagus Sauce

½ bunch small asparagus stalks, tough ends trimmed off
2 large red bell peppers or about 5 small, cut in half
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Lemon juice
8 oz. ricotta cheese
A little grated Parmesan cheese

Toss the peppers and asparagus in oil and lemon. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 375° F. for about 30 minutes, or until soft and slightly charred. Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree the roasted peppers and asparagus with the Parmesan and ricotta cheeses. Add salt and pepper to taste.