Shrimp Cakes

This is one of the craziest, busiest, and most hectic weeks of summer we’ve had so far — I guess to make up for the peace and quiet I enjoyed while both of our girlies were away at camp last week.  Well, the party’s over, as they say.

After a week-long hiatus, I’ve resumed my roll as the official DamFam taxi driver, laundress, short order cook, maid, and  referee, and my ‘to-do’ list is spiraling out of control. I have about 8 loads of laundry piled up in the hall upstairs, which must be dealt with, because while Camp Minikani is a wonderful place to visit, the scent that lingers is, well…not so pleasant.

Seriously, laundry from camp reeks — I would even place it in the same smelly category as my brother’s old goalie bag.  P.U!!!

When I’m going to find time to wash, dry, and fold this laundry remains to be seen.  We’re on our way to a 5-hour swim meet this afternoon, and then of course, I’ve got my daughter’s 9th birthday party to plan.

Oh, when is her birthday?  How nice of you to ask.   Uhm, it’s tomorrow.   (Yeah, tomorrow.  That’s how I roll).   Bad Mom, reporting for last minute birthday planning duty, that’s me.

Anyway, in the midst of all this craziness, dinner still found it’s way to the table.  All three of my DamKids were off doing their own thing, so I whipped up these crunchy little Shrimp & Sweet Corn Cakes with Basil-Jalapeno Tartar Sauce for the Husband and myself.

Oh. My. Gravy.  We LOVED these!

I  used the Censea Cleaned Jumbo Shrimp that are on sale, $12.99 for a two pound bag.  Although it says “JUMBO” on the bag, I have to tell you, I think that’s a little misleading to the average shopper.  These shrimp are 26/30 count, which (in case you didn’t already know this) means that there are between 26 and 30 shrimp in each pound.  This also means the shrimp are, well, a little shrimpy.   These are not the shrimp I like to throw on the grill or serve in a shrimp cocktail (that’s just me); I prefer much larger shrimp for those types of preparations.

I like to use these shrimp for recipes such as this one, where their size doesn’t really matter, because they’re chopped up pretty finely in a food processor.

With the help of your Cuisinart, this recipe comes together quite quickly.  You’ll just need to set aside an hour or so for them to chill in the fridge before they’re quickly sautéed.  As I mentioned, I did serve these Shrimp Cakes for dinner, but they could easily be formed into teeny little cakes and served as an hors’ doeuvre.  ENJOY!  Now if you’ll pardon me, I’m off to sort more laundry.

SHRIMP & SWEET CORN CAKES WITH BASIL-JALAPENO TARTAR SAUCE

Makes 4 Servings (or 8 appetizer servings)

Adapted from The Dean Bros. Cookbook, Recipes from the Road, by Jamie and Bobby Dean and Melissa Clark, p. 206 (a really fun cookbook that I highly recommend!)

CAKES:

  • 3 scallions, rough chopped
  • 1 smallish clove garlic, rough chopped
  • 1 lb. raw shrimp, tails removed
  • ½ c. fresh corn off the cob (*see note)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T. mayonnaise
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 hefty pinch of chopped cilantro or Italian parsley
  • 2 c. Panko breadcrumbs, divided (find these in the Asian aisle on the bottom shelf)
  • Salt and ground pepper
  • Neutral cooking oil for sautéing

BASIL-JALAPENO TARTAR SAUCE

  • ½ c. mayonnaise
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and rough chopped (please, wear gloves!)
  • 1 smallish clove of garlic, minced
  • 5-10 basil leaves, rough chopped
  • 2 t. capers, drained
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and ground pepper

Place the first eight shrimp cake ingredients into the bowl of your food processor.  Pulse enough times to coarsely chop the shrimp, but not to the point of turning them to total mush.  Add one cup of panko, and pulse to blend.  Season with salt and pepper and pulse a couple more times.

Form the shrimp mixture into individual cakes (I got 8 cakes out of this).  Place the remaining cup of panko into a shallow bowl.  Dredge each shrimp cake in the panko, and place cakes on a plate.  Refrigerate the cakes for one hour.

Meanwhile, make the Tartar Sauce:

Place all tartar sauce ingredients into the bowl of your food processor (which you’ve cleaned out, of course – or avoid handwashing it altogether and use a mini-prep).  Pulse to combine to desired consistency —  I like mine pretty smooth.   Transfer to serving dish and chill until serving time.

Place a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add enough oil to evenly coat the bottom of the pan (1-2 T.).  When oil is hot (a crumb or two of panko will immediately sizzle when dropped in the oil), add the shrimp cakes (don’t crowd your pan; this took me two batches).  Brown 3 minutes on the first side (or until they reach a pretty golden color), flip; brown about 2 minutes on the second side.  Remove to a plate lined with paper towels, drain.  Transfer to a pretty platter, serve with the Basil Jalapeno Tartar Sauce.

**NOTE: Cutting corn off the cob can be a messy job.  You can avoid having it fly willy-nilly all over your kitchen by doing this simple trick:  get out a medium sized glass mixing bowl.  Place a smaller bowl upside down in the mixing bowl (I use a little cereal bowl).  Cut the bottom off of the corn cob to make it flat.  Stand it on top of the upside down bowl, and slice the kernels off of the cob.  They should all land in the mixing bowl.  Nifty, right?!

No need to thank me, I live for this stuff.

Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous | August 4th, 2009