Crispy Louisiana Crab Cakes with Mango Salsa, Spiced Tomato Glaze and Cilantro-Avocado Emulsion

Total Time:
1 hr 15 min
1 hr
Inactive Prep:
15 min
4 to 8 servings


  • 4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green onions (green parts only)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
  • 6 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 recipe Mango Salsa, recipe follows
  • 1 recipe Spiced Tomato Glaze, recipe follows
  • 1 recipe Cilantro-Avocado Emulsion, recipe follows


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Heat the butter in a medium skillet and add the onions and celery. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, green onions, chives, and parsley in the bowl of a food processor and process until well blended and slightly thickened. Add the salt, pepper, and cayenne and process for 15 seconds to blend. Transfer to a medium bowl with the cooled sauteed vegetables, crabmeat and 6 tablespoons bread crumbs and fold gently to mix, being careful not to break up the lumps.

Form the crabmeat mixture into 8 (2 1/2 to 3-inch) round cakes, about 2 1/2 ounces each, and pack gently but firmly. Place on the prepared baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until well chilled, 1 to 2 hours.

Put the flour in a small shallow dish. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and the milk to make an egg wash. Put the panko in a third shallow dish. Dredge each crab cake in the flour, then in the egg wash, and then the panko crumbs, shaking to remove any excess breading. (Note that the crab cake mixture will be slightly wet and should be handled carefully. If the crab cakes become too loose during the breading, they can be refrigerated again until firm.) Set aside.

Heat 1/4 cup of the vegetable oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Panfry the crab cakes 3 or 4 at a time until golden brown, about 4 1/2 minutes per side. Add more oil as needed. Drain the crab cakes on paper towels. Keep warm.

To serve, arrange 2 crab cakes on each of 4 plates and top with 2 tablespoons of the Mango Salsa. Drizzle the Spiced Tomato Glaze and Cilantro-Avocado Emulsion around the crab cakes and serve immediately.

Mango Salsa:
1 ripe mango, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/4 cup finely chopped poblano peppers
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell peppers
1/4 cup finely chopped red onions
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine the mango, poblanos, bell peppers, onions and garlic in a non-reactive bowl and stir to mix. Add the vinegar, cilantro, and salt and stir well Adjust the seasoning, to taste, and serve.

The salsa can be made up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated in a non-reactive, airtight container.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Spiced Tomato Glaze:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup Emeril's Kick It Up Red Pepper Sauce, or your favorite hot sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons Creole mustard or other whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch ground cinnamon
1 bay leaf

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, whisking to dissolve the sugar and tomato paste, and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

The glaze will keep, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Yield: 1 cup

Cilantro-Avocado Emulsion:
1 ripe avocado, diced
2/3 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, packed, blanched and strained
1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 lime, zested
1 lime, juiced (4 to 5 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.

Yield: about 2 cups