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‘Melt in the Middle’ Crab Fishcakes

Feeling crabby?!  Make a cake!

Farmers’ markets are some of the best places to introduce yourself to new producers and sustainably reared, grown and sourced ingredients, as well as teaching us the important fact of ‘what is in season?’.

Living in the depths of rural Somerset, I am lucky to have access to abundance of farmers’ markets in my home county as well as across the boarder in Dorset and Devon.  Not only are these markets abundant with meat and diary farmers, as well as small scale producers of bread, preserves and of course cake(!), delicious fresh fish is often on offer.

Having worked the Dorset Farmers’ Market scene all of last year, Dorset Shellfish swiftly became my favourite stall holders, always coming to market with pots and baskets, burst with fresh crab, lobsters and prawns.

With all their shellfish sustainably sourced, handpicked and lovingly brought to market, the meat is beautifully sweet, tender and sea fresh every time.  As a family run business, the men work hard on the boats out of Weymouth harbour come rain or shine, and ladies take business reigns and ensure this stunning shellfish is freshly delivered to each and every customer.

Having picked my crab up from Sherborne market last week, I was desperate to get it in the kitchen and develop a recipe that enhanced its delicately sweet flavours; an aromatic, butter-rich,  crispy fishcake had to be the way forward!

Melt in the middle chilli, ginger and lime Crab Cakes

I believe there are two key elements to a successful crab cake;

1.  Do not pad your fishcakes out with too much potato – the beautiful flavours of the crab needs to be dominant

2.  Season and spice – although both seasoning and a little spice does absolute wonders for crab, go steady!

So why not get yourself down to market this bank holiday weekend and see what treasures you can find!

Melt in the Middle Chilli, Ginger & Lime Crab Cakes
  1. 150g salted butter
  2. 2 red chillies, medium heat
  3. Bunch of coriander
  4. 1 clove of garlic
  5. 1 thumb of fresh ginger
  6. 2 limes
  7. 250g crab meat
  8. 2 spring onions
  9. 100g mashed potato
  10. Salt and pepper
  11. 2 tbsp plain flour
  12. 1 egg
  13. 150g fresh breadcrumbs
  14. 4 tbsp rapeseed oil, preferably smoked
  15. For the salad;
  16. 1 carrot
  17. 1/2 small white cabbage
  18. 1/4 kohlrabi
  19. 1/2 red pepper
  20. For the dressing;
  21. 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  22. 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  23. Juice of a lime
  24. 2 tsp brown sugar
  1. In a bowl, soften the butter using a wooden spoon before adding 1 finely chopped chilli and a handful of coriander. Crush the garlic and add to the bowel along with the finely grated ginger and the zest of 1 lime. Ensure all the ingredients are combined before spoon out on cling film. Roll the butter in the cling film to create a thin sausage and tie at either end to secure. Place in the freezer to allow to harden – this is best made in advance and frozen overnight.
  2. Place the crab meat in a large bowl and add the spring onions, roughly chopped. Add the potato, seasoning and a squeeze of lime juice and mix well. Once the butter has frozen, slice the butter into four small disks. Divide the crab mixture into 4 and enclose each butter disk to form 4 patties. Place on a lined baking tray and place in the fridge to chill for 1 hour.
  3. Make the salad. Thinly slice the carrot, cabbage, kohlrabi and red pepper into a large bowl and a little squeeze of lime to stop the vegetables from turning brown. Combine the chilli, oyster sauce, lime and sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside until ready to serve.
  4. Place the flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs in 3 separate bowls. Remove the crab cakes from the fridge and carefully dip them first in the flour, followed by the egg and then the breadcrumbs, ensuring they are completely coated – then place back on the line baking tray.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 180c/gas 5. Heat 2tbsp of oil in a non-stick frying pan. Once the oil is hot, lower the heat to medium and place in 2 cakes. Cook for a couple of minutes until golden and crispy, before carefully flipping and cooking on the other side. Remove the first cakes from the pan, place on the baking tray and add the remaining oil to the pan – repeat with the other two cakes.
  6. Place the cakes in the oven for a further 10 – 15 minutes until completely golden and crispy. Remove the cakes from the oven and dress the salad with the dressing – reserving some for a dipping sauce.
Hells Belles' Bites

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