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The Prado Crab Cakes

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  • 1 scant tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon finely diced red onion
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, shell fragments removed
  • 1 pound back fin crab meat, shell fragments removed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Panko bread crumbs (see note)
  • Flour
  • 1 egg beaten with a little water or milk
  • Canola oil for sautéing


  1. In a sauté pan, heat a scant tablespoon of oil. Sauté red bell pepper, celery and onion just until vegetables are soft. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and reduce the cream by half, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the crab meats, cooled vegetables and cilantro. Add the cooled cream and mix until crab is evenly covered. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add just enough panko bread crumbs to thicken the mixture so you can form a solid ball by lightly squeezing.
  4. Form 2-ounce balls, then shape by hand into a cylindrical shape.
  5. In separate bowls, place some flour, the beaten egg mixture and some panko bread crumbs. Coat each crab cake first in flour, shaking off excess, then in egg mixture, shaking off excess, then in panko crumbs, coating well.
  6. In a sauté pan, heat a shallow layer of oil and lightly sauté the crab cakes until golden brown all over, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately.

Yield: 8 servings

For a flavor variation, add cayenne pepper to taste.

Panko Japanese bread crumbs are sold in the Asian foods sections of many supermarkets.

Source: Executive Chef Jeff Thurston, The Prado, San Diego, California