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Lime-and-Coconut-Marinated Peekytoe “Crab Cakes” with Tomato Chutney

Scott Phillips

Servings: six.

In true restaurant fashion, you’ll need a ring mold to build these “cakes” so that they hold their shape. 


For the tomato chutney:

  • 2 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1/2 cup small-diced yellow onion
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 3 cups peeled, seeded, and diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1 Tbs. seeded, minced jalapeño
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the basil oil:

  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

For the crab:

  • 1 lb. peekytoe crabmeat (or substitute jumbo lump or Dungeness)
  • 6 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup very loosely packed fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbs. minced shallot
  • 3 Tbs. coconut milk
  • 3/4 tsp. Espelette pepper (optional)
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the garnish:

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted
  • 6 small fresh basil tops

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 350
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 250
  • Fat (g): 28
  • Saturated Fat (g): 5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 7
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 15
  • Cholesterol (mg): 45
  • Sodium (mg): 580
  • Carbohydrates (g): 11
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Protein (g): 15


Make the chutney:

  • Cut a small square of cheesecloth and put the peppercorns, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, cloves, and bay leaf in the middle of the cloth. Gather the edges into a pouch and secure with twine.
  • Heat the oil in a 4-quart heavy-duty non-reactive saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the tomatoes, jalapeño, sugar, and the spice bundle. Cook, stirring frequently,  until very thick and most of the liquid has evaporated, 25 to 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, discard the spice bundle, and let cool.

Make the basil oil:

  • Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Prepare an ice bath by filling a medium bowl with several inches of ice water. Blanch the basil in the boiling water for 10 seconds. Drain and immediately plunge into the ice bath to cool. Drain again and gently squeeze out any water. Put the basil and the oil in a blender and process until puréed, about 2 minutes. Line a fine sieve with cheesecloth and strain the oil into a small bowl, using a spoon or small spatula to push the oil through the cheesecloth. Discard the cheesecloth and set the oil aside.

Marinate the crab:

  • Pick over the crab to remove any cartilage or shells. Work with the crab gently, being careful not to break up the meat. Put the crab in a medium bowl and add the lime juice, basil, shallot, coconut milk, Espelette pepper (if using), a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Gently toss to coat and let marinate for about 10 minutes at room temperature. Put the crab in a fine sieve over a medium bowl and drain for at least 5 minutes.

Assemble the dish:

  • Put a 2-1/2-inch-diameter ring mold in the center of a small plate, spread about 2 Tbs. of the chutney in the bottom, and top with 1/2 cup of the crab mixture. Carefully remove the mold. Repeat to make 5 more servings. Drizzle some basil oil around each plate, and garnish the top of each “cake” with toasted coconut flakes and basil tops. Serve immediately.


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Reviews (2 reviews)

  • MzzFraser | 02/25/2010

    Tasted fantastic! The tomato chutney really ties it all together. I made this for my brother who is a professional chef, and he was quite impressed!! I used low fat coconut milk to cut the cal and fat content, and instead of using a ring mold (I didn't have one) I just used the coconut milk can that I cut both ends off and washed out. Worked very well. It's a must try - PLUS, it looks great on the plate - great way to impress your guests! :)

  • MarkRogers | 07/20/2009

    Made this last night and it is insane with fresh, complex, wonderful flavors. I set this on a leaf of butter lettuce was the only change. Never going back to traditional crab cakes again. If you don't try this, you are missing out on life.

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