Food & Drink

Vacation restaurant visit offers inspiration for make-at-home Shrimp Cakes

This past week, we took a trip to Whitefish, Montana. Have you ever been to Montana? It was never really on my radar because mountains aren’t my favorite. Beaches call my name.

I stand corrected though because Whitefish blew me away with its beauty and its great restaurants.

The first night in Whitefish, we luckily stumbled upon Tupelo, the town’s top-rated restaurant on Yelp. Located in the darling, picturesque downtown area, which spans a few blocks of restaurants and tourist shops, it was a delight. Apparently not just hotel rooms and rental cars are at a premium during the summer months in Montana. Dinner reservations are also scarce.

Drink orders were taken, and it was time to choose our appetizer and dinner courses. While traveling, it’s fun to indulge a bit, so we ordered two appetizers. Randy ordered the Shrimp and Crawfish Cakes with Tarragon Aioli, and I ordered the Roasted Cauliflower with Red Thai Coconut Curry. The menu had my mouth watering the entire time, so it was tough to narrow it down. I wished we were traveling with a big group of close friends so I could taste a bite of everyone’s entrée.

We skipped the salad course, even though I wanted the Tomato and Stone Fruit Salad. For our entrees, Randy had Low Country Shrimp and Grits, and I had the Halibut with Fingerling Potatoes, English Peas and Asparagus Puree. We ooohed and ahhhed through our meal, but we had to pass on the dessert course. There simply was no room in our stuffed bellies.

The next morning, we wandered back into the cute downtown area with breakfast on our minds. Buffalo Café was the destination, and the hearty breakfast didn’t disappoint. Randy had the Buffalo Pie with Kansas City Bacon – who knew there was such a thing? It consisted of a heap of thick-grated fresh hashbrowns, bacon, fried eggs, green chili sauce and melted cheese on top. Shrimp Cake Benedict is what I ordered, and it was delicious, too. After eating shrimp cakes twice in a row, it had me thinking – why haven’t I ever made them?

My choice for this week’s recipe, which comes from, is clearly vacation-inspired. We ate many other fabulous meals on the vacation, but I won’t bore you with all of those details. These Shrimp Cakes are delicious and pretty simple to make.

Adriene Rathbun is an enthusiastic Wichita cook who offers cooking classes through her business, Social. Reach her at or

Shrimp Cakes with Chili-Lime Cream Sauce

16 uncooked large shrimp (about 1 pound), peeled, deveined

1 large egg

1 green onion, sliced

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced

½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce

½ teaspoon salt

Pinch of black pepper

2 cups panko breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons (or more) high heat oil

Chili-lime Cream Sauce (recipe below)

Coarsely chop shrimp in food processor. Add egg, green onion, lemon juice, mustard, cilantro, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper. Blend in using on/off turns. Add 1 cup panko and blend using on/off turns. Form mixture into 12, 3-inch-diameter cakes. Roll cakes in remaining 1 cup panko; transfer to waxed-paper-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate 10 minutes.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry cakes until cooked through and golden brown on both sides, adding more oil to skillet as needed, about 6 minutes.

Spoon 3 tablespoons Chili-Lime Cream sauce onto each of 6 plates. Place 2 shrimp cakes on each and serve immediately.

Chili-lime Cream Sauce

¼ cup dry white wine

¼ cup fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon shallot, minced

1/3 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into ½-inch pieces

Combine first 4 ingredients in a small heavy saucepan. Boil over high-heat until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add cream and boil until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Mix in chili-garlic sauce. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, whisking just until melted before adding the next piece.