Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hearts of Palm Crab Cakes


























Yields: 6 cakes
Active time: 30 minutes
Passive time: 1 hour, to chill the mixture

Have you ever tried using corn flour? Not cornmeal, which is its grainier counterpart and one word, but corn flour, which is a finer powder, and two words. Except if you are in the UK, where cornstarch is called cornflour, which I find to be horribly confusing. 

I bought this product by mistake after reaching for chickpea flour, which looks pretty similar in the package. I assumed this powdery flour would yield a light result, so the first time I used it was in a pancake batter along with regular AP flour. The results were tragic: inedible and ugly brick pancakes stomped out of the skillet, with a rubbery yet dry texture that I'd never seen before. But rather than throw the flour away, I tried it again, using it as a coating for falafelI rolled some of the falafel spheres in the corn flour, dunked it into some hot oil, and they emerged with a crispy, light and golden shell. I also tried it again in a pancake batter, but scaled the amount back to one tablespoon, which yielded a lighter, cornbread-scented result

These experiments led me to use the corn flour as a coating on hearts of palm-based crab cakes. Hearts of palm is a new-to-me ingredient, although I've seen it in salad bars and used in faux crab cakes frequently. After giving it a rough chop, this product yields a flaky, faux-crabby texture that's easy to combine with other chunky components.The outer layer of corn flour here complements the other flavors and textures perfectly, and produces a nicely textured shell that breaks easily with the tap of a fork.



INGREDIENTS
for the crab cakes
14 oz. can of hearts of palm (whole)
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp dried dill
few pinches of salt
1/2 cup panko crumbs
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup frozen corn kernels
1/8 cup minced prepared roasted red pepper (gently squeeze some of the moisture out after mincing)

for pan frying
3/4 cup corn flour
oil, for pan frying

for the sauce
1/4 cup sriracha OR 1/2 tsp dried dill, mixed with 1/4 cup Vegenaise 
OR prepared sweet ginger chili sauce 


METHOD
Place the hearts of palm into a food processor and pulse three times. You'll want the mixture to be broken up, but still a little chunky. (You can also gently mash with a fork.) Transfer the the mixture to a medium-sized bowl.

Add the Old Bay, dill and salt and gently stir to coat. Fold in the rest of the crab cake ingredients. Cover and allow to refrigerate for about an hour or up to overnight.

When you are ready to make the crab cakes, place the corn flour into a shallow wide bowl. Place a pan (preferably cast iron) over medium heat for about 3 minutes. 

While you are preheating your pan, divide the crab cake mixture in half, then form 3 equal portions from each half to create 6 equal-sized portions. Roll them into balls, then flatten them out between your palms a bit. Gently place them, one by one, into the corn flour until well coated, tapping off any extra. They will be really fragile, so if they break apart, just gently reshape and redust with the flour as needed. 

Coat the bottom of the pan with oil, wait one minute, then gently place the crab cakes into the hot pan. Pan fry for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Transfer to paper towels to slightly drain.

You can also bake these crab cakes. Just preheat a cast iron pan in a 450 degree oven. Drizzle the bottom of the pan with oil and place the dusted crab cakes into it. Flip so the tops are slightly oiled, and bake on each side for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

Serve immediately with the sriracha-Vegenaise, dill-Vegenaise or other prepared dressing.




























27 comments:

  1. I recently moved to Maryland, and Old Bay is EVERYWHERE! So basically, I must try these. Thanks for the recipe! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gorgeous! I honestly don't know if I've had hearts of palm but I've definitely seen them and can totally see how the texture would work for these. They seriously look amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I grew up eating hearts of palm and to this day treat myself to a can of it every so often. These look delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have a ton of corn flour in my pantry! These look really delicious and I have never had hearts of palm.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm looking at the amount the recipe made, and I'm thinking that dividing it into 6 patties is going to make them very small, no?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Johanna, dividing the mix into 6 patties makes nicely sized cakes, partially because they are fragile and will hold up better in the pan at this size.

      Delete
  6. Also, I'm thinking that mixing a little panko (I used whole wheat) into the corn flour might be nice (?).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't have corn flour and used Panko instead, they were great!

      Delete
  7. Oh yum. I love hearts of palm crab cakes, and your recipe looks really good!

    ReplyDelete
  8. So this was my indulgence for this evening's menu. Which comes with a funny story I thought I would share. I had no corn flour on hand and could not find any on island. So I thought of using some other kind of flour--but then thought maybe I would try something a little different. I wondered if dry polenta would have a similar effect when coated on the cakes and fried. Well...it was an interesting experiment! I liked the grittier texture it produced on the outside, but I must say that frying them was a walk on the wild side. Thankfully, for some reason, I thought to cover the pan though you had not mentioned it. Not sure why I did it; must have been someone looking out for me;) The cakes began to sputter and pop intensely--painting the whole underside of the glass cover. I turned the heat down from medium to low-med. yet it still spat up a storm to the point that I shut off the burner and had to wait a few minutes before lifting the lid or I surely would have been blinded by flying grease. I chuckled at what I anticipated was going to be a disaster. Strangely, when the pan settled enough for me to lift the lid, the underside was nice and golden crisp--so I decided to keep going, though kept the heat at low-med. and the cover on, and then turning off the burner and letting the cakes sit for a couple minutes before flipping them or removing them from the pan. In the end--the taste was still wonderful and the recipe was not destroyed, not did I lose my eyes in the process. :) Delicious as always. I was surprised at the comparative taste without having added any crushed nori or anything. I added a touch of lemon juice and dried lemon peel to the sauce and served the cakes on a bed of fresh baby spinach with a side of pine nut cous cous topped with edemame. Thank you for another culinary adventure!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yikes! I had to cover my eyes while reading this, because a: you described it so vividly and b: I thought this was going to end in tragedy! Glad you are okay and your eyeballs are intact : )

      Yes, most recipes call for nori, but I kind of like the old bay/dill/hearts of palm, and don't think it needs a fishy element. I love your addition of lemon peel and will use that next time, which will be soon. : )

      So happy you enjoyed, Leila!


      Delete
  9. I'm going to make these tonight -- I'm so excited!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Amazing...can't wait to try these!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm making this for a second time. Of the first batch, I had one. 4 went to a friend's restaurant for sampling, and they loved them. The last one was consumed by my dearest, who insisted I make them again, so that he could have more. I'm going to pair them with a recipe from the book, Vedge: Dandelion Greens Horta with Skordalia.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for making these, Johanna and also for sharing them! I am overjoyed that they were a success. Many thanks for your kind feedback!

      Delete
  12. This looks amazing, just like everything you present here.

    ReplyDelete
  13. These look really good. Never had hearts of palm before! I actually have a very similar recipe, but I just use quinoa instead. http://thehealthyflavor.com/2012/07/11/vegan-crab-cakes/ I'll have to try with the hearts of palm sometime. My picture doesn't look as good as yours, but this was my very FIRST post ever on my blog, so my photography skills have dramatically improved :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I can't wait to try these. I've actually had an idea in the works that involves dehydrated hearts of palm being made into vegan calamari.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I can't wait to try these! i've had heart of palm cakes at Crossroads- these look just as good!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm always nervous to try any recipe I find on pinterest because I've just had so many interesting experiences. However, I made these for a Christmas eve dinner that was seafood themed and they were a huge hit!!!! I thought the crab mix was a little salty for my personal tastes, so I added some more breadcrumbs and just the smallest touch of water, but they held together perfectly and seriously everybody loved them and thought they tasted like crab.

    Thanks so much for posting this and I can't wait to try more of your recipes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for making the crab cakes and for your kind feedback—I am thrilled they were a hit! Hearts of palm is an incredible ingredient.

      Delete
  17. This recipe is wonderful. I made these for lunch and my family devoured them! I have already made more patties for tomorrow's lunch. Thank you so much. This will make our transition to plant based much easier!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So happy you and your family enjoyed, thanks for your feedback!

      Delete
  18. We just did a Google search for this recipe. On a recent road trip...we had fish cakes at The Present
    Moment cafe in St. Augustine, FL. They served them on fried green tomatoes with a fresh salad and homemade raspberry vinaigrette. We just have to make these!!! Thanks for the recipe!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting my blog and for your feedback!