Crabcakes with Sweet Chilli Sauce

I know what you’re thinking – ‘I don’t like fish, and I definitely don’t like shellfish.’ But if you are thinking that (apologies if you’re a fellow seafood-lover – just bear with me), then I really, really beg you to give this a go because it might just change your mind. Crab has a wonderfully delicate flavour, barely fishy at all, and when (as in this recipe) it’s mixed with crème fraiche, zingy chives, and sweet chilli sauce, and fried in breadcrumbs until it’s golden and crispy, well. Fabulous doesn’t begin to describe it.

1 tin of white crabmeat (usually they’re about 170g)
1 stick of celery
A small handful of fresh chives
A couple of tablespoons of crème fraiche (plus more to serve)
1 egg
A teaspoon of Dijon mustard
A good dollop of sweet chilli sauce (I like Encona)
5-6 slices of stale white bread

Fresh rocket and oven chips, to serve

Serves 2.

If you can make this a hour or so in advance and pop the crab mixture in the fridge for a while to stiffen up, that’ll really help you shape the crab cakes, so try and build in some extra time. First of all, chop the celery and the chives as finely as you can. Next, rinse the crab meat in a sieve and then mix it with all of the ingredients above, apart from the slices of bread. Make your breadcrumbs, either in a little blender (like this Cuisinart one) or by scrunching them up by hand, and then mix about a third of them into the rest of the ingredients. Season well and give it a really good stir to make sure it’s all smoothly combined, and then put it in the fridge for about half an hour.

When you’re ready, put the oven on to heat up (for the chips), and pop them in. Put a frying pan on a medium-high heat with a generous splash of olive oil, and let it warm up.
Pour your breadcrumbs onto a big plate and spread them out. Using a dessertspoon, scoop out balls of crab mixture about the size of a Satsuma, and with your hands, gently roll them in the breadcrumbs, shaping them into even blobs. Pop each one into the frying pan as you go – by now it should be hot enough to sizzle when they go in. With a spatula, flatten each one down slightly.

While the underside of the crabcakes sizzles, scoop a couple more tablespoons of crème fraiche into a little bowl and add a generous drizzle of sweet chilli sauce, to taste, then stir well, to create a scrummy dip that’s deliciously creamy with a bit of a kick.
Using the spatula, carefully turn the crabcakes over (make sure you don’t split them open – they should be reasonably robust though). At this point, you might want to move your chips from oven to grill, to crisp them up. Remember that the second side of the crabcakes will take far less time to cook, so keep an eye on them!

Once they’re ready, the chips should be done too. Lay the crabcakes on top of a generous handful of fresh rocket, top with a drizzle of spicy dip and put the chips on the side – scrumptious.