Panko Crusted Shrimp Cakes

So we’re clear: I don’t share this recipe with just anyone.

But maybe it’s because it’s December 24th, and all of my Christmas cards are finally done and outta here. Maybe it’s because all of the gifts are wrapped and I don’t have to pull an all-nighter for the first time in 5 years.

Or, maybe it’s because I watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” last night for the 450th time and I just can’t help myself.

Jimmy Stewart…*sigh*. He has this effect on me every year.

“George Bailey, I’ll love you til’ the day I die.”

Remember that scene? It’s early on in the movie when young George is working at Mr. Gower’s soda counter / pharmacy – he bends over to pick something up and Violet whispers it into his bad ear. Y’know, the bad ear he got from jumping into a frozen pond to save his drowning brother, Harry? Good old George. He never did make it out of Bedford Falls, but he got a chance to see what life would have been like if he’d never been born.

“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

Sorry. By now you’re probably wondering if there’s a point here. YES! Of course there is. The generosity of the good people of Bedford Falls has inspired me to share with you one of the best recipes…EVER!

Also, I promised myself when this blog started out way back in June, that if I was still around in December (like, if the Balistreri’s hadn’t given me the hook by then), I would share this recipe with you. Well, here we are. It’s Christmas Eve. I’m still blogging. Let’s make some shrimp cakes!

“Hello, Bedford Falls! Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas, movie house! Merry Christmas, Emporium! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan! Hey! Merry Christmas, Mr. Potter!”

Merry Christmas, FFF readers!


Makes 1 Dozen

Source:, sauce from


  • 16 large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 T. chopped fresh cilantro, plus additional sprigs for garnish
  • 1 t. Dijon mustard
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice, plus several lemon wedges for garnish
  • Several dashes tobasco
  • ½ t. salt
  • 2 c. panko breadcrumbs, divided
  • Neutral cooking oil


  • ½ c. mayonnaise
  • ¼ c. spicy cocktail sauce
  • ½ t. Old Bay seafood seasoning
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Place the shrimp in the bowl of a food processer and pulse to coarsely chop. Add the egg, scallions, cilantro, mustard, lemon juice, tobasco, and salt. Pulse to blend. Add 1 cup of panko and pulse several times to incorporate.

Place remaining cup of panko in a shallow dish. Use your hands to form the shrimp mixture into 12 cakes. Roll the shrimp cakes in the panko and transfer shrimp cakes to a plate. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, mix all of the sauce ingredients together. Adjust the seasonings to your taste; you can’t mess it up! Transfer sauce to a pretty serving bowl and refrigerate.

Place a large sauté pan with 1 tablespoon of cooking oil over medium heat. The oil is ready when a tiny pinch of panko sizzles upon contact with the pan. Place shrimp cakes in the pan, taking care not to crowd them. Saute for two minutes per side, or until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain; then transfer shrimp cakes to a serving platter. Garnish platter with lemon wedges and sprigs of cilantro. Serve shrimp cakes with sauce.

Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous | December 24th, 2009