Monday, December 31, 2012

Almond Crusted Shrimp Cakes- and there's bacon too!

Who doesn't love shrimp? and bacon, and almonds?  These are my favourite shrimp cakes- at least until I find another favourite.  Stevie (my daughter) prefers our shrimp and sweet potato cakes.  Not even the bacon and the almonds will change her mind.  

I started making shrimp cakes, and crab cakes and fish cakes, in earnest when I moved to the West Coast.  It's a fresh seafood mecca- the best place to make/sample all manner of fish cakes... 

Almond Crusted Shrimp Cakes
They are incredibly easy to make.  There's nothing like spending an afternoon experimenting with ingredients and flavour profiles. I use a "mini hamburger stacker" to make these.  It helps to make them uniform and freeze them easily in the container, if you choose to fry them later. I try to keep a supply of fish cakes in my freezer.  They are quick to heat up and an excellent dish to offer guests or bring to a pot luck.

The almond crusted shrimp cakes are popular whenever I serve them.  They are well worth trying out.  

This recipe will make eight shrimp cakes.

  • 1     bacon slice, chopped
  • 1     lb large shrimp in shell (21 to 25 per lb), peeled and deveined
  • 1     slice firm white sandwich bread
  • 1/4  cup milk
  • 1/2  cup chopped scallions (about 4)
  • 2     tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2     teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3/4  teaspoon salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4  teaspoon black pepper
  • 2     cups sliced almonds (6 oz)
  • 3     tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Lemon wedges and fresh cilantro leaves to garnish

Pulse the chopped bacon in a food processor until finely chopped. Pat the shrimp dry, then add to the bacon and pulse just until shrimp is coarsely chopped (do not purée). Soak the bread in milk in a shallow bowl until very soft, about 30 seconds. Add wet bread to shrimp mixture, discarding any remaining milk, and pulse until just combined.

Transfer the shrimp mixture to a bowl, then stir in the scallions, cilantro, cornstarch, salt, sugar, and pepper until combined well.

Mini stacker- a great tool
for making the shrimp cakes
Spread the sliced almonds on a large plate. Using a 1/4-cup measure, drop one mound of shrimp mixture (measure out one scant 1/4 cup) onto the almonds. Sprinkle the almonds over the shrimp mound to coat, gently pressing to form a 3 1/2-inch cake, 1/2 inch thick (mine are usually a little fatter). Transfer the cake to a wax-paper-lined baking sheet. Make seven more cakes in the same manner, transferring to the baking sheet. Discard any remaining almonds.  If using the hamburger stacker, measure out the shrimp mixture, coat with almonds, place in the stacker and form them using the pusher.  Place a disk/divider between each shrimp cake.  Place the shrimp cakes in the refrigerator for approximately 30 minutes before frying them. 

Heat two tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking.  Cook four cakes, turning over once and rotating for even browning, until the almonds are golden and the cakes are just cooked through, four to six minutes total. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and keep warm, loosely covered with foil. Discard any almonds left in the skillet, then add remaining tablespoon of oil and cook the remaining four cakes in same manner. Serve warm, with wedges of lemon and your favourite dipping sauce.

My new toy!
A mini cupcake maker 
The last time I made these, I used an electric mini cupcake maker to cook them up.  Use about one tablespoon "ish" of mixture, covered with the almonds, for each "mini cupcake" and set the timer to seven minutes.  They come out lightly brown on the bottom and cooked through- perfect hors d'oeuvres.  

Almond Crusted Shrimp Cake Minis

Do you like it spicy?  You could add minced jalapeno pepper to the mixture.  Alternatively, you could add hot sauce to your dipping sauce. 

Or, minced ginger can be added to the shrimp mixture... the possibilities are endless.

Freezing the shrimp cakes?  I like to brown them before freezing them.  I don't cook them through all the way because they will be reheated in the oven when I want to serve them.  Browning now saves having to pull out the frypan later...


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