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Pati Jinich crab cakes

I was invited to design a Cinco de Mayo menu for Ceiba Restaurant along with their Chef de Cuisine, Alfredo Solis. The invitation included teaching a class covering that menu. As always, I was eager to teach whatever I know. But as always, I learn much more as I go. This time, I also learned, that you never know what foods you are going to like the best.

Solis and I were thrilled with the class menu. He was going to feature a tasty Shrimp Ceviche and some succulent Shredded Beef Tacos. I was going for a Red Snapper with a simple yet stylish Almond and Chipotle sauce, with a side of the ever exuberant Poblano Green Rice and a fresh Radish Salsita. I was also covering dessert: a textured and sweet coconut flan paired with fresh mangoes. And whipped cream. With a hint of Rum.

The whole experience was fun, from beginning to end. From meeting Solis for the first time -who shared his to die for mussels in a spicy tomato broth with chorizo, along with fascinating bits and pieces of his life story as he went from being a dishwasher to Chef de Cusine-  to designing the menu, to tasting and testing it a week before class for a full dinner run, to prepping for class and lunch the day of. Day which, with the excuse of needing sweetened condensed milk for the coconut flan, I kept splashing some in their good coffee and sipping it all along.

And there we were, laughing it out, as we set up the demo stations, before we even started the class…

And there we were, ready and steady, a couple minutes before the guests were seated…


But when all was said and done and the guests were gone -hopefully happy and with a full belly- I looked at Solis and said what my friends know me for: what are WE eating now?

Solis responded: Anything you want to try from our menu!

Having eyed the already shaped crab cakes in the refrigerator that morning, I asked him what was in their mix.  Just with the word Habaneros, I knew I was going for those.

So yes, I loved the menu we designed. And yes, I think it was a fun and yummy class. But I can tell you, those crab cakes are a pair of Rock Stars.

If you are not near DC or can’t go to Ceiba anytime soon, Solis graciously shared the recipe for you to sample at home. I just did as I posted those for you.

To make them, here we go: Lump crab meat, chopped Habanero -yes with seeds for me please-, cilantro, just a bit of bread crumbs and mayonnaise to bind the meat together, as well as the egg I am cracking there…

Crabcake 1-thumb-510x342-1041
Then I am adding the juice of that shinny and juicy lime, some salt and fresh ground pepper.

Crabcake 6-thumb-510x342-1051
That’s all that goes into the crab cakes.  Shape them up and you can keep them in the refrigerator for a couple of days, covered, until you are ready to cook them up.

When ready, prepare Solis’s tangy and light Jalapeño aioli, to drizzle over them.  Just place the ingredients into a blender or food processor: mayonnaise, lime juice, Jalapeños, cilantro, salt and pepper…

Crabcake Crabcake 10-thumb-510x342-1059
And there you go, Mexican style crab cakes fit for Emperor Montezuma. I bet you he would have liked them.

Just as I did…

Croquetas de Cangrejo con Aioli de JalapeñoAdapted from Ceiba's Chef Alfredo Solis

Serves: 4 to 6

Croquetas de Cangrejo con Aioli de JalapeñoAdapted from Ceiba's Chef Alfredo Solis" alt="MEXICAN CRAB CAKES WITH JALAPEÑO AIOLI
Croquetas de Cangrejo con Aioli de JalapeñoAdapted from Ceiba's Chef Alfredo Solis" />


For the crab cakes:

1 pound jumbo lump crab meat

1 habanero chile, seeded (optional), chopped

2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lime juice

2 teaspoons fresh cilantro, chopped

3 teaspoons bread crumbs

1 egg

2 teaspoons mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, more or less to taste

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground, more or less to taste

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

For the jalapeño aioli:

1 or 2 jalapeño chiles, seeded if desired

2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice

2 cups mayonnaise

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, more or less to taste

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground

To Prepare

Combine the crab meat, habanero chile, cilantro, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, egg and lime juice in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Form 4 to 6 crab cakes, depending on how chubby and big you want them. You can prepare them in advance and keep them refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Heat a large skillets set over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter into 1 tablespoon of oil. Once it starts to sizzle, add as many crab cakes as will fit without being crowded. Cook anywhere from 2 to 3 minutes per side.

To prepare the aioli, place all the ingredients in the blender and process until smooth. Drizzle over the crab cakes and if you want, sprinkle the top with freshly chopped cilantro.



¡Hmmmm! ¡Qué antojo! ¡Si no fuera porque este fin de semana mis amigos a los que invité son vegetarianos, hacía esto!

Oh my those look very delicious!

Wow. They are. Give them a try!

Que rico!!!! I’m going to ask my husband to make them for me for mothers day!! Thanks for the menu!!!

That’s the perfect idea!!! Yo quiero también que mi esposo me haga… (jajaja)

This looks fantastic! We love crab cakes, especially when it’s dungenous crab season here in the Bay Area, but with the habanero, I can totally see how this is a rock star! I am definitely going to make this – it’s right up our alley! Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe!

My pleasure!

Wow Pati,
I love cooking Mexican food, and just discovered your show. Awesome recipes! I’m making your Pepito sandwiches this week, and plan to make the crab cakes very soon. Thanks, Randy

Just love all your food. It takes me back to my childhood. Also just reading your blot is making my mouth water
Gracias Pati

wow hola pati como mexicano te escribo en espanol te felicitopor tu programa asi como muchos chef mexicanos la cocina mexicana esta ahora en otro nivel y a la vista de todo el mundo, espero tener tu libro muy pronto . te escribo desde beaver creck colorado en las montanas, espero aplicar algunas recetas en mi trabajo gracias , y adelante en nombre de MEXICO Atte chef rocky, y no hace falta la invitacion cuando guste venir aqui a skiar o en el verano seras bienvenida .

Hola Chef Rocky!
Me va a dar mucho gusto que use las recetas e ideas en su trabajo: para eso es la cocina! Claro que si alguna vez ando por ahí le echaré una buscada…

wow hola Pati me gusta tu programa espero tener muy pronto tu libro felicidades


Hola Pati! What would you suggest serving with these crab cakes to make a meal? Gracias!

Hi Denise, I would serve them with a fresh salad, like this one:

My husband, who is Mexican, says I can make a shrimp & crab tostada with lots of lemon. Is this ceviche? or do you have a recipe for seafood tostada, taco or enchiladas, or chimi? I never miss your show & your kids are both adorable & growing!!

Hola Cynthia, Yes, your husband is right, it’s a type of ceviche. I’m giving you the link for my Shrimp Cocktail Pacífico, which is also great on a tostada:

Yummy! Thanks so much for the lovely recipe.

Hi Patti,

I made my traditional MD crab cakes today – ok, not entirely traditional as I didn’t use lump crab from the C. Bay. Anyway, afterwards, I was wondering whether guacamole would go well with the crab cakes. In searching the internet for crab cakes + guacamole, I somehow came across your recipe….which doesn’t use guacamole.

Anyway, looking at your recipe, I’d think the habanero would overpower the crab. But, I recently came across a new to me chile at my local Mexican grocery store in Waldorf MD – a manzano chile. Hotter than a jalapeno, milder than a habanero, and more flavor than both. This may be the perfect chile for your recipe. Oh, and the avocados at my Mexican grocery are much better than those at typical U.S. stores.


Give those manzanos a try in here, they are a lovely ingredient.

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