These scallop crab cakes, bursting with Thai-inspired flavors, have no room for filler — instead, the binder is sweet, tender scallops, chopped and tossed with one egg. Combined with crabmeat, it’s a winning combination.
For a more low-key option, I often use fresh cod or halibut in lieu of the crab. Dusting and forming the cakes with just a little bit of flour before frying also helps hold them together. Lime leaves add a distinct citrus note and are worth seeking out; look for them in the herb and produce section of your grocery store or at an Asian food market. If you do choose to omit, be sure to include the grated zest of a lime. The fresh tomato sauce is a bit addictive, so I often double the recipe and serve any leftovers with scrambled eggs or whisk into a vinaigrette to add some depth to salads.
Thai-style scallop crab cakes with grated tomato sauce
Makes 6 to 8 cakes
1 pound sea scallops, minced
1/2 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, pick through and with any shells or cartilage discarded (or cod or halibut, chopped)
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup packed fresh Thai basil (or half cilantro, half basil)
4 kaffir lime leaves, very thinly sliced (or zest of 1 small lime)
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled, grated and divided (use half for the sauce)
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Flour, for dredging
Grapeseed or canola oil, for pan frying
Grated tomato sauce:
3 to 4 ripe tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
Juice squeezed from 1 lime (about 3 tablespoons)
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger (from the reserved half from scallop cakes)
1. Combine minced scallops, crabmeat, green onion, basil, lime leaves, ginger, garlic, black pepper and fish sauce together. Whisk the egg and add to the mixture, blending just to combine; no need to overwork the mixture.
2. Make sauce: Cut tomatoes in half and grate tomatoes into a bowl; discard stems and skin. Stir in fish sauce, lime juice, lime leaves, garlic, and ginger. Taste and add more garlic or fish sauce or lime, as desired; set aside.
3. Heat a large cast iron skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat and pour enough oil to cover the bottom and up the side about 1/4 inch. Add about ½ cup flour to a large plate. Divide the mixture into 6 to 8 portions, and take one portion and gently dredge in flour, quickly forming a cake. When oil is hot and sizzling but not smoking, add a few cakes at a time. Let cook about 3 minutes. If cakes are browning too quickly, reduce heat slightly. Gently turn cakes and cook other side 2 to 3 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Place on a cooling rack to drain or on paper towels. Repeat with remaining scallop-crab mixture. Serve warm with grated tomato sauce.