Before we moved to Oregon, my husband and I visited Maryland as often as we could. In particular, I loved visiting Annapolis and eating Chesapeake blue crab. I have fond memories of sitting bayside, eating crab cakes. We don’t have much access to blue crab here on the left coast, and while we do have Dungeness crab, it’s not the same. I know. I’m insane. Dungeness crab is great. I just miss the blues. So instead of making crab cakes, I thought it’d be fun to make shrimp cakes. After all, shrimp is awesome.
Usually crab cakes are made using bread or breadcrumbs as a binder or filler, and we could have used gluten-free breadcrumbs inner shrimp cakes. But since my husband is trying to follow a paleo diet, we decided to use cauliflower instead. Yes, cauliflower. I know, that sounds of another world, or you might even say…weird. I wish I had taken a photo of my son’s face when we told him, after he had inhaled half of what was on his plate, that the shrimp cakes were made with cauliflower. It only took a moment; however, for him to recover from his shock and continue diving into his dinner. According to him, these shrimp cakes are out-of-this-world. They really are delicious. I love that when I bite into them, I can taste the shrimp and not breading.
½ head cauliflower
1 green onion, sliced thin (include both white and green sections)
1½ pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 T yellow bell pepper, diced
2 T red bell pepper, diced
2 eggs, beaten with fork
1 T coconut flour
1-2 t Sea Salt
olive oil and/or coconut oil (we tend to sauté in olive oil and pan fry with coconut oil)
1. Pulse cauliflower in food processor until it has the consistency of rice.
2. Heat approximately one tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan. Add cauliflower and stir well to coat with oil. Cover pan and turn the heat down to low. Sweat for 3-5 minutes.
3. Uncover the pan and continue to cook the cauliflower, stirring occasionally, for another three minutes, until softened.
4. In another pan, sauté green onion in olive oil until it just softens.
5. Pulse raw shrimp in a food processor until coarsely chopped.
6. Combine red and yellow peppers with the softened green onion in a bowl. Add the egg, coconut flour, sea salt, a few grinds of black pepper, and the shrimp. Mix well. Add cilantro and mix.
7. Melt coconut oil in a large cast iron pan. (We use coconut oil to fry because it has a high smoke point and does not break down with high heat like other oils do.)
8. Form shrimp mix into 10-12 balls, approximately the size of a meatball (about 1½ – 2 inches in diameter).
9. Place a few shrimp balls in the pan and press gently with a spatula to flatten them to about ½-¾ inch thick, like a hamburger. It is important to cook these in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.
10. Cook over medium heat until brown and crispy (approximately 3-4 minutes). Flip over and cook another 2-3 minutes.
11. Place cooked shrimp cakes onto a paper towel to drain and repeat steps 9 and 10 until all cakes cooked. You can place the finished shrimp cakes into a 250° oven or toaster-oven to keep warm until you finish pan frying the other batches.
Makes 10-12 shrimp cakes.
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