Shrimp Is The Ingredient You Need For A Thicker, More Flavorful Crab Cake

Crab cakes are a classic meal that most people love but often only eat in restaurants. This means that a lot of us are getting fewer crab cakes than we would prefer, which is a shame. With the price of crab meat only rising due to environmental factors and higher shipping costs, the future doesn't look too hopeful for crabmeat lovers. Luckily, according to Cook's Illustrated there just might be a way to make affordable crab cakes that still taste great, and it includes adding shrimp.

Specifically, adding a shrimp mousseline (like a mousse) as a binder for your crab cakes can elevate the flavor while allowing you to use lower quality, frozen crab meat. This works because the shrimp doesn't detract from the natural flavor of your crab cakes like using mayonnaise or eggs does. Plus, you can use cheap frozen shrimp to make a mousseline which is even better for your wallet.

The science behind this trick, as chef Theo Paul shared with The Arizona Daily Star, is that "On a molecular level, the shrimp paste has allowed the protein strands to form new bonds that not only hold water, but cross-link with each other to create a new type of structure, that, when heated, forms an irreversible gel." This is what gives the cakes their sturdiness.

How to make crab cakes with shrimp

Firstly, what is a mousseline? Mousseline is just a French word for a meat paste with a mousse-like fluffy texture. Mousseline can be made with salmon, chicken, and more importantly, shrimp. So how do you make it?

Simple! First, buy any variety of frozen shrimp you prefer, let them thaw, and then decide whether or not it's a type of shrimp you have to devein. Once the raw shrimp is ready to go, add them to a food processor and blend them up with a bit of cream. Now you have a shrimp mousseline and can mix it with the crab meat and your preferred seasonings. Once combined, form the mixture into patties.

Lastly, refrigerate the cakes for around 30 minutes or until they firm up, coat them in bread crumbs, and cook them in a pan until golden. And voilà! Now you have perfectly simple and delicious crab cakes.

How to eat your double crustacean crab cakes

The best thing about using shrimp in crab cakes is that it not only enhances the crab's natural flavor, helping to bring the crustacean's delicious sweetness centerstage. That being said, to get the full effect of the crab flavor, a good way to serve these cakes is plain with a side of tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, or garlic aioli. You can also eat them on a classic buttery toasted bun with lettuce and tomato.

If you want to get more creative, you can follow Andrew Zimmern's lead and whip up some Baltimore-style crab cakes, which the TV host and author serves with Russian dressing. You can also substitute` crab cakes in place of shrimp on a traditional New Orleans po-boy sandwich. If you'd rather have an appetizer than a main course, give mini crab cakes a try and serve them as an hors d'oeuvre at your next dinner party or as a side dish at a cookout. There's really no wrong way to go — with shrimp as a binder, you'll have nothing to be crabby about.