Crab cakes with tomato ginger jam

Part two of my New Year’s Eve feast. You can read about my main course, roasted turkey with vanilla bean, honey and lemon zest marinade, here. I needed a fun appetizer that could stand alone, something to go between the spice-roasted chickpeas and the full-on main course. I wanted something flavorful, out of the ordinary (for us, anyway). I saw a commercial early in the week for canned crab, and couldn’t get it out of my head. While I could easily have purchased fresh, we’re not that big on sea food so the preserved version seemed like the perfect compromise.

I came across a recipe pairing crunchy crab cakes with sweet, tangy tomato ginger jam and I was sold. I made the jam immediately, but continued to root around on the internet for the perfect crab cake recipe. I ended up mixing a few different ones, including making my own take on the Old Bay seasoning that the first called for, and that I had no hopes of finding here in France.

The cakes were a cinch to make, and stored well in the fridge (sans cornflake coating) for a couple of days. I fried mine rather than baked, as the recipe called for, not so much because I wanted to but because my oven was packed full of turkey. I have a feeling, however, that despite the extra fat and calories this added to the dish, it was well worth it with the resulting crispy, crunchy coating. Feel free to adapt the recipe depending on what you like, but I highly recommend a good dose of cayenne pepper, hot, spicy mustard and plenty of cardamom seeds (these little guys were a most-welcome and tasty surprise every time I came across one).

Spicy cornflake-coated crab cakes with tomato ginger jam
Tomato ginger jam from Gourmet and Crab cakes inspired by Gourmet’s miniature crab cakes

For the tomato ginger jam


1/4 C finely minced shallot
1 1/2 T finely grated fresh ginger
2 large garlic cloves
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
2 T butter
1 1/2 T sugar
6 ripe plum tomatoes
2 T lime juice

Cook the shallot, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper in a skillet with the butter for about 5 minutes, until it smells amazing and the shallot is softened. Add the sugar and continue cooking until it dissolves. Blanch your tomatoes and take off the skin. Roughly chop them, removing the seeds, and add to the mixture in the skillet. Cook for about 20-25 minutes, until mixture has reduced by about half. Stir in the lime juice right before serving.

For the crab cakes


2 cans crab meat
1/4 C mayonnaise
1 T dijon mustard
1 egg
2 t lemon juice
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 t paprika
1/2 t peppercorns, crushed
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t allspice
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t cardamom seeds, crushed
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 C flour
2 C crushed cornflakes
2 T butter
Salt, pepper

Combine mayonnaise, mustard, egg, lemon juice, diced bell pepper, spices, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Gently fold in the crab meat, stir to combine. Add the flour and 3/4 C crushed cornflakes. Refrigerate for about one hour.

Place the remaining cornflakes in a shallow dish. Form the crab mixture into small patties, and coat with cornflakes. Heat the butter over moderately high heat, and brown the crab cakes until golden, about 5-7 minutes on each side. Turn down the heat to low and continue to cook another 5 minutes. Serve immediately with the tomato ginger jam.


4 thoughts on “Crab cakes with tomato ginger jam

  1. Mmm… what an unusual combination! I make a similar Moroccan-style tomato ‘jam’; I’ve thought it would be great with fish, why not crab cakes? Nice post.

    • Thanks! I’m a huge fan of sweet and salty combinations, and this one worked out extremely well. I hope you’ll try them, and I’d love to hear about your jam (I’m also a huge fan of North African cuisine)!

  2. Pingback: Roasted vanilla bean turkey | à l'américaine

  3. Pingback: Rich chocolate brownies with mint white chocolate and dark chocolate ganaches | à l'américaine

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