There is no way to describe the ingenious culinary process I went through to mutate a crab cake into a crawfish cake. If I tried to explain it to you, your brain would probably implode due to the intricacies of the process. Just kidding. I simply swapped in slightly more affordable but equally delicious crawfish meat for the oh-so-common crab. End of story. This sort of simple ingredient switch is exactly the kind of misdirection chefs use to look like some sort of genius.
Please, take the time and energy to find domestic (preferably Louisiana) crawfish for this recipe. The tails are frequently a little smaller than their imported Asian counterparts, but there is less water content to them, and the one-pound bags they come sealed in are loaded with delicious fat (yes, crawfish have fat), which is where their flavor comes from. Whatever variety you find, they will be frozen. The best practice with these is to slowly thaw them overnight in your refrigerator. Keep this in mind when preparing to make this crawfish cake recipe. The tenacious among you might wait until crawfish season and harvest tails by hand. You will be rewarded with more delicious crawfish cakes and in heaven by a choir of angels. Cajun angels, of course.
And for the record, it’s CRAW-fish, not CRAY-fish and, while we’re at it, pah-CAWN, not PEE-can (as my grandmother used to say, “That’s what we keep under the bed!”).
3 tablespoons Creole mustard or whole-grain Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Louisiana hot sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
2 eggs plus 1 yolk, lightly beaten
¾ cup panko breadcrumbs, plus extra for coating
2 tablespoons clarified butter, or your preferred cooking fat
Sliced tomatoes, bitter greens, and Hollandaise, for garnish
How to Make It
Warm the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add the onion, bell peppers, and garlic and sauté until barely softened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
In a stainless steel bowl, stir together the crawfish, mustard, mayonnaise, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Creole seasoning, eggs, and ¾ cup panko. Stir in the cooled onion and pepper mixture and blend until completely combined. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Divide into 8 equal portions. Form each portion into 2-inch cakes that are about ¾ inch thick. Roll in extra panko to coat each cake fully.
Preheat the oven to 200°F.
Warm the clarified butter in a 10-inch sauté pan over medium heat for 30 seconds. Place the crawfish cakes in the pan 4 at a time and cook until lightly brown on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove to a baking sheet lined with paper towels and place in a warm oven while cooking the remaining 4 cakes.
Place the hot cakes over the sliced tomatoes on each of 4 plates and garnish with bitter greens and a simple vinaigrette and topped with hollandaise. Serve immediately.