Monday, February 18, 2013

Oh Oscar! Curried Crab Cakes with Mango Avocado Salsa

It's that time of year again friends - time to talk movies and appetizers and make predictions on who's going to win what and who's going to look amazing on the red carpet.  It's Oscar time - or my fourth favourite night of the whole year!  I love it all - the glitz and glam; the drama of the just-opened envelope; and the movies.  Oh I love the movies, and there were some really, really good ones this year.  A lot of the races are too close to call, and it's sure to be a night full of surprises - my favourite type of Oscar night!  From the first minute of the red carpet to the last little goodbye from Seth MacFarlane, I'll be glued to the television, and I know many of you will too.  But it's not a party unless there are snacks (obviously) and I've got you covered on that front too, with these fabulous little crab cakes.  So sit back, relax, let me get a little movie talk out of my system, and then we'll talk food.

I'm by no means a movie expert - I just know what I like, and what I don't.  Let's get the bad news out of the way first.  Les Miserables.  I'm sorry.  Some of you may disagree with me, but this movie was awful.  Saw it on Christmas Day with my mom and I wanted to walk out within the first 30 minutes.  (I haven't felt this way since I lost two hours of my life to The Tree of Life.)  No one told me the movie was going to be completely sung - like, all of the dialogue.  I knew I was going to see a musical, so I expected some music, BUT NOT THE WHOLE DARN MOVIE!!!  Sorry, I must still be a little upset about it.  That being said, Anne Hathaway's performance was a standout, especially in the scene where she sings/cries her heart out.  I'll give the movie that, but only that.  Well that, and Hugh Jackman.  She will win; he will not.  If anything, this movie made me very grateful I was never a woman in 19th century France.

Now to the good stuff!  Best Picture will go to Argo - I raved a little about it before, but holy man.  I loved this movie.  I was literally on the edge of my seat for the last 15 minutes - I wanted to jump up and down and pace the aisle, but I probably would have gotten into trouble for that.  Ben Affleck was robbed for a best director nom but he'll still take home the hardware Sunday night.  GO see this movie if you get the chance.  My second favourite was Silver Linings Playbook.  A movie about hope and redemption and picking yourself up when things get rough.  Universal themes we can all relate to, no?  Bradley Cooper is fantastic, Jennifer Lawrence is good, though not as great as everyone thinks she is.  Not sure if she'll win, but he won't (Daniel Day Lewis has it locked.)  Robert de Niro was fantastic as well - he might just pull off a Best Supporting win.  He hasn't won since Raging Bull - it's time!  Another movie which grabbed my heart was Life of Pi.  I loved the book very much (the author lives in my city of Saskatoon!) and I felt they adapted it quite well, which was no easy feat.  The special affects are phenomenal, so it will win big there, and of course I'll be rooting for it to win best adapted screenplay.  It's always nice when the home-town kid wins, right?

But but but!  There are so many good movies I haven't seen yet - like Lincoln (best actor for Daniel Day Lewis, for sure), Zero Dark Thirty (Jessica Chastain, best actress?  Maybe, maybe not.), Beasts of the Southern Wild (sounds like a movie I would love.)  I'm hoping to see them before Sunday - it's like cramming for finals but way more fun.  As you can see I'm a little obsessed excited about the 85th Annual Academy Awards - it's going to be great show.  Tell me, what movie grabbed you this year?  Who do you think will win what?  Who is going to be best/worst dressed?  Adele!  She's going to sing!

So, let's talk about food, finally.  Last year I made these artichoke and asiago poppers and they were a huge hit.  I mean, deep fried artichoke dip, what's not to love?  This year I wanted a bit of a healthier snack which would look pretty on a plate, and these crab cakes do all of that.  I used canned crab, just because that's what I had on hand, but you can use fresh if you have it.  Mix it with some red curry paste, green onions, mayo, egg, form into little patties and bread them with buttered panko crumbs.  And here is the best part.  I baked them.  Who has time to stand over a frying pan when there is red carpet action not to be missed?  Simply form them, chill them (for 30 minutes or up to one day), then bake them until golden and crispy.  That's all there is to it.  It's Oscar night - you have better things to do.

Crab cakes are excellent on their own - crispy outside, tender and mildly spicy on the inside - but they are made even better when paired with bright, fresh flavours.  Enter the mango avocado salsa (easily prepared before the big show.)  It's sweet and spicy and just what every crab cake needs.  Dollop some on top and you have a great little appetizer.  I also served the crab cakes and salsa alongside a nice green salad and it was a perfectly delicious light supper.  A poached egg, nestled on top of the crab cake with a little Hollandaise wouldn't be so wrong either.  Oh the possibilities!  Just like Oscar night.  Be sure to grab your pals (and a couple of cocktails and crab cakes) and settle in for what is sure to be a really entertaining night.  I can't wait.

In other fun news this post is syndicated over at BlogHer, which is way too awesome.  Thanks guys!   

Curried Crab Cakes with Mango Avocado Salsa

1/3 cup mayo
1 egg
1 clove garlic, minced
zest of 1 lime
2 tbsp finely chopped green onions or chives
1 tbsp red curry paste (you can use yellow as well, or just 2 tsp of curry powder)
1/2 tsp salt
480 grams of crab  (I used canned and it was fine)
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
3 tbsp melted butter

In a large bowl, mix the mayo, egg, garlic, zest, chives, curry paste, salt together.  Stir in the crab.  Mix until all incorporated.  Use a scoop and form into patties (my scoop size was about 1/3 of a cup) or you can just eyeball it.  In a medium, shallow dish, stir the panko with melted butter.  Dredge each crab cake into the crumbs (do both sides) and set aside on a platter.  Do this for all of the crab cakes.  Cover lightly with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to one day.   Preheat oven to 400*F.  Bake crab cakes for 20 minutes, until golden and crispy.  No need to flip.  Serve with mango avocado salsa.  Makes 8-10 crab cakes.

Mango avocado salsa

1 mango, diced
1 avocado, diced
half a sweet red pepper, diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
small handful cilantro, finely chopped
juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp Sriracha or other hot chili garlic sauce
1/2 tsp salt

In a medium bowl, combine veg and fruit and cilantro.  Whisk the dressing ingredients in a smaller bowl or jar and pour over salsa.  Adjust seasonings.  Can be  made a day ahead.  Serve with crab cakes.


  1. Renee, these are absolutely GORGEOUS and your photos are beautiful! I share your love of all things Oscar but must confess, I have seen NONE of the nominated movies (3 year old at home, remember). With a catastrophic allergy to all things fish and shellfish I can not try these but will be SURE to pass on the recipe as they look divine! Enjoy Oscar night!

  2. These look delicious, puts me in the mood for lots of light, summery food :)

  3. How brilliant to bake the crab cakes! And the salsa is so bright and fresh-looking. As far as those awards go, I'm with you on Argo and Silver Linings. Zero Dark Thirty was very powerful, some really disturbing scenes however. Coming up this Friday on one of our local channels (I think it's LMN) is a film called "Winter's Bone" which stars a very young Jennifer Lawrence. It's quite the story. It will be a fun evening for sure!

  4. I also enjoyed Life of Pi. I originally wanted to avoid it because I had read the book so many times am I am a notorious whiner-in-the-theater when the movie is different/worse than the book. So pleasantly surprised that it was adapted so beautifully and faithfully. Those crab cakes look delicious, I can imagine popping them into my mouth.. i wish!

  5. I'm so impressed by how gorgeous and tasty these crab cakes look! I love crab cakes and mango....and all of the ingredients together look amazing! What a fun appetizer - I'd love to enjoy these decadent treats while watching the Oscars :)

  6. Some great predictions and some awesome crab cakes.

  7. Great breakdown of the Oscars, Renee! I'm with you on Les Mis- I turned to my husband in the first thirty minutes and said, "That's a lot of singing." To which he responded, "It's called a musical." Loved Argo and really need to see Lincoln before Sunday! Your crab cakes look fantastic and so cheerful!

  8. Renee, I have been so remiss this year in seeing the Oscar nominated films. Ugh! Maybe I need to go on a movie watching marathon in the next few days. I think your crab cakes could keep me company;)

  9. Candus, of course! You're a busy lady. Thanks for passing the recipe along :)
    Alex, they are pretty summery, aren't they? Thank you!
    Donna, I haven't seen Winter's Bone, though heard it was good, if a little dark. Have fun on Sunday!
    Stephanie, I was hesitant to see Life of Pi too, but was so happy they did the novel justice. Hope it wins on Sunday!
    Julia, thank you so much!
    Val, thank you! I hope I'm a little right when it comes to predictions :)
    Jess, thank you! I'm hoping to see Lincoln before Sunday too - Daniel Day Lewis is my favourite :)
    Erin, it was a really good year for movies. I love how there is no clear winner. Enjoy Sunday night!

  10. Absolutely beautiful photos, Renee. So bright and Spring-y (it's coming soon, isn't it?) Somehow I knew I wouldn't like Les Mis, so passed on that one. I loved Lincoln!

  11. Argo was really good. There were definitely a lot of good movies this year.

    The crab cake with mango salad sounds awesome. My wife and I have tried a few different kinds of mango salads but haven't made any crab cakes. We'll have to give this a try next time.


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