When the person you’re dating casually mentions that they like crab cakes, you find a way to make crab cakes.
Look, I don’t make the rules here, that’s just how it goes. Said person could have expressed an attraction to fugu or turducken, for all you know, so there’s no reason why such a simple desire can’t be indulged.
Making Vegan Crab Cakes
Crab has a fairly mild flavor, subtly sweet and oceanic, often compared to lobster, without the oily fishy flavor that smaller sea creatures are known for. Replicating this experience in a convincing way requires taking this unique taste and tender, shredded texture into account.
- Most plant based crab cake recipes feature jackfruit, the hottest tropical fruit to hit American dining room tables. Though I’ve previously used an unconventional combination of glass noodles and tofu to replicate that shredded, chewy texture, I wanted to tap a lesser known import for this version: banana blossoms. They’re very similar in the eating experience of brined young jackfruit packed in cans, but have a softer bite and slightly more natural taste. Banana blossoms can be found fresh in the produce section of more robust Asian markets, canned alongside the jackfruit, or frozen, nearby the other veggies and edamame in the freezer aisle. I used frozen which comes finely shredded and simply needs to be thawed. If you’re starting with larger pieces, you’ll want to thinly julienne them with a sharp knife, or pulse them a few times in your food processor.
- Nothing says “ship shape” like a pinch of dried wakame. It rehydrates about 3 to 4 times in volume, so I like to crush it roughly to better distribute the flakes.
- Panko breadcrumbs act as a binder and textural enhancement; contrary to antiquated approaches, it’s NOT a filler and is key for overall enjoyment. You can find gluten-free versions if needed, but don’t swap in standard Italian breadcrumbs, which will make the crab cakes too dense and heavy.
Crab cakes don’t need to get dressed up to go out; they always look fabulous, even without makeup on.
- Pass around a platter of crab cakes as a standalone snack or appetizer, perhaps with tartar sauce or sriracha mayo for dipping, and call it a night.
- Craft a complete meal around them, making them the star of the show. A voluminous arugula or spinach salad is a great way to get your greens without distracting from the headliners. On cold nights, saute, stir fry, or even cream those greens to serve the whole thing hot. For a different take on scampi or alfredo, crown your pile of garlicky noodles with crisp crab cakes, rather than more shrimpy fare.
- Leftovers make stunningly great sandwich fodder. They’re a bit fragile so they tend to fall apart when reheated. Don’t sweat it! Embrace the unraveling and add an extra dollop of vegan mayo to make an incredible crab salad. Slap it between two slices of bread with tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and anything else you like. Eat as is or brush with melted vegan butter and toast the whole thing.
Crab Cakes are an easy request to fulfill. Say you’re making them as a favor, but it’s okay to want them for yourself, too.