New Orleans chef Melissa Martin stuffs this savory shrimp-and-crab mixture inside blue crab shells (sourced from her local fishmonger) before pan-frying, but you can also shape it into simple cakes.
Makes 12 stuffed crabs or crab cakes
1½ pounds wild shrimp, boiled, peeled, and deveined
2 tablespoons butter, plus more for finishing
2 large yellow onions, diced
1 small bell pepper, diced
1 large stalk celery, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced (about¼ cup)
1 cup heavy cream
2 pounds fresh lump crabmeat
1 tablespoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
1 tablespoon hot sauce, such as Original “Louisiana” Brand Hot Sauce*
1 lemon, halved
1 bunch scallions, green and white parts, finely chopped
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, finely chopped
12 cleaned blue crab shells, if available
2 cups cornmeal
Vegetable oil for frying
*See “11 Must-Have Ingredients from Mosquito Supper Club Chef Melissa Martin’s Pantry”
1. In a food processor, pulse shrimp until they are ground into a sticky paste; set aside.
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add butter and onions and sauté until soft and translucent, about 15 minutes. Add bell peppers, celery, and garlic and sauté until soft (taste the bell pepper to make sure there is no more crunch to it), 15 to 20 minutes. Add cream, reduce heat to low, and continue cooking until liquid is reduced by almost three-quarters, about 15 minutes. Remove mixture from heat, add reserved ground shrimp, and stir to combine; allow to cool.
3. In a large bowl, combine cooled shrimp mixture, crabmeat, salt, pepper, cayenne (to taste), and hot sauce. Add a generous squeeze of lemon juice, then fold in scallions and all but 1 tablespoon of parsley. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate for several hours or overnight so that flavors can marry.
4. Taste shrimp-crab mixture and adjust seasonings and lemon juice, as desired. Stuff mixture in crab shells or form into 12 cakes; lightly dust each shell or cake with cornmeal and set aside. In a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon oil and heat until oil starts to sizzle. Working in batches and adding more oil as needed, fry stuffed crabs, meat side down, or the cakes until golden brown, flipping halfway through, 8 to 10 minutes total. Add a touch of butter to each. Garnish with reserved parsley and serve immediately.