The weather gets warmer, I cook lighter. So I thought I’d employ of couple of seasonal stars – peas and radishes – to put a spring spin on crabcakes.
I blithely went shopping for fresh crabmeat at my local market, but found to my horror that it’s almost unaffordably pricey – and that pasteurized refrigerated crabmeat isn’t much cheaper.
In search of an ingredient with which to stretch the crab (I thought of it as Crab Helper), I settled on boiled shrimp, which are readily available, but not astronomically expensive. Happily, the crab and the shrimp played very nicely together.
As this also is the season for fresh peas, I added some of them to the crab/shrimp mix. Their natural sweetness chimes in well with the shellfish, and they add a little crunchy pop to the texture of the cakes.
Flavor and texture aside, I used to discount the nutritional value of peas, until I finally scrutinized the data and discovered that the little fellers are packed with protein, fiber and micronutrients. If you find fresh peas at the farmer’s market, by all means scoop them up. But keep in mind that the sugar in fresh peas starts turning to starch the minute they’re harvested, so be sure to bring them home, shell them and boil them right away.
And if your only option is frozen peas, don’t despair. Those guys are picked at the height of their ripeness and blanched immediately in water, which sets their flavor and texture.
The cakes are topped off with a peppery cream flavored by horseradish and red radishes. Kissing cousins from the same family – brassicaceae – the radishes add a little kick to the otherwise bland shellfish. The sour cream is a moist and tangy complement to the panko crust.