ABOUT THE RECIPE:
I used to love crab cakes and creating a vegan version has been high on my “to-do” list for quite a while. So imagine my happy dance when I came up with this authentic-tasting adaptation that is so easy to prepare! These Not-So-Crabby Cakes with Classic Cocktail Sauce make an appetizing first course or main dish for any special meal, served with a zingy sauce on the side.
Makes 8 Cakes
CLASSIC COCKTAIL SAUCE
¼ cup catsup
1½ tablespoons prepared horseradish, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2¼ cups lightly packed fresh soft bread crumbs (see note)
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
½ teaspoon dried marjoram
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (use 1/8 teaspoon for less heat)
¼ teaspoon dulse flakes or granules (optional, see note)
1 cup firmly packed grated zucchini
½ cup minced fresh onion
3 heaping tablespoons sesame tahini, plus more as needed
2/3 cup lightly packed fresh soft bread crumbs
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
¼ teaspoon sea salt
4 lemon wedges
Put all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Taste and add more horseradish, if desired. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper
To make the cakes, put 2¼ cups bread crumbs, mustard powder, marjoram, ¼ teaspoon sea salt, cayenne pepper and dulse (optional) in a large bowl and stir with a large spoon to combine. Add the zucchini and onion and gently stir to combine. Add the tahini and stir well, mixing it into the zucchini mixture until completely incorporated. If the mixture still seems dry, add 1 more heaping tablespoon of tahini.
To make the breading, put 2/3 cup bread crumbs, 2 teaspoons olive oil and ¼ teaspoon sea salt in a small bowl and stir to combine. Add an additional teaspoon of olive oil if the bread crumbs seem dry.
Scoop up ¼ cup of the zucchini mixture and form it into a cake. Dip it in the breading mixture to thoroughly coat both sides. Put the cake on the prepared baking sheet. Gently press down on the cake to compress it slightly. (This will help it to hold together while baking). Continue in this manner to form a total of eight cakes.
Tent loosely with foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cakes begin to get golden around the edges. Flip the cakes and re-tent with the foil. Bake for 10 to 15 more minutes, or until slightly golden. Remove the foil and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes or until the cakes are crispy and golden brown. Put the pan on a wire rack and let cool 5 minutes. The cakes will be slightly soft. To serve, carefully transfer the cakes, using a flat spatula, onto individual serving plates.
For an appetizer, serve one cake per person; for a main course, serve two to three cakes per person, with Classic Cocktail Sauce on the side and garnished with a lemon wedge.
Chef’s Note: If you cannot find dulse flakes or granules, you may use nori instead. Put a ½ sheet of toasted nori into a blender and grind into coarse crumbs. Proceed with recipe as directed.