I admit it. When Kelly from KPLU Listener Relations first mentioned Zucchini Crab Cakes to me I scoffed. But after my first bite I stopped scoffing and started scarfing. They're good, with very much the taste and mouth-feel of regular crab cakes.
And, as Nancy pointed out, they're just the thing for eaters allergic to shellfish – or just to the high cost of crab. And even if you do use real crab, this method is a great way to stretch it.
Here's how I made them
Google "zucchini crab cakes" and you'll find tons of recipes, most of them pretty similar and all incorporating Nancy's favorite seasoning mix, Old Bay. I combined several different methods and ingredients plus a few of my own.
2 Cups coarsely grated zucchini + 1 teaspoon salt
1 Cup Panko or other dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons each minced celery, parsley, onion
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1. Toss grated zucchini with 1 teaspoon salt and place in a colander over a bowl to drain for 30 minutes.
Twist the grated zukes in a clean dish towel to wring out as much water as possible. Combine with the bread crumbs.
2. In a separate bowl combine all the other ingredients and fold into the zuke/crumbs combo. Cover and refrigerate at least an hour or longer and they'll hold together better when you shape them.
3. Heat about an inch of olive oil in a non stick pan over medium heat. Try a small test cake to check the seasonings. You might want more Old Bay, less lemon, or whatever. Once you've got the mix to your taste you're ready to go. I used an ice cream scoop to keep the cakes uniform in size. Once in the pan I flattened them a bit with the greased underside of a spatula. Brown on both sides.
NOTE: Next time I make these I'm going to add something "fishy" to boost the flavor. Maybe some soaked and shredded dried scallops or a few shots of fish sauce.
Once we got started talking about zucchini Nancy mentioned that she was "Dying to try" a recipe by Seattle chef Renee Erickson of The Walrus and the Carpenter, The Whale Wins, Boat St. Cafe, and Barnacle. The recipe's from Erickson's book A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus: Menus and Stories."
"And what was that recipe for?" I asked.
"Zucchini bread!" she chortled. Visions of macrame and India print bedspreads filled my head but Nancy's eaten it at The Whale Wins and swears it's the greatest. Here's a link to chef Erickson's Olive Oil Zucchini Bread recipe.
"You cannot teach a crab to walk straight." (or a zucchini, but you already knew that – Stein)