Pure, unadulterated crab cake goodness topped with a colorful salsa that’s bursting with flavor. My Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes with Tropical Kiwi Salsa are perfect for summer entertaining!
For the most recent Recipe Redux contest, we were challenged to “surprise and delight” with a recipe featuring Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit. I was really excited to start experimenting in the kitchen because I’d never tried SunGold kiwifruit before. This new variety of fruit is a natural cross between other gold varieties of kiwifruit (non-GMO) and is one of the fastest growing new fruits globally. With their sweet flavor, pop of color, excellent nutritional profile and culinary versatility, these beauties are a must try!
Zespri SunGold kiwifruit are rich in vitamin C, potassium and vitamin E, and they’re the perfect portable snack. Just cut, scoop and enjoy- no peeling needed! Plus, did you know that kiwi is also a natural meat tenderizer? Both green and SunGold kiwifruit contain an enzyme called actinidin that helps break down protein. You can actually mash it up and spread it over meat to marinate and tenderize it- pretty cool, right?
I knew I wanted to do something different with the SunGold kiwi since it’s so beautiful and unique. Instead of doing a dessert, I went in a different direction and decided to “surprise and delight” by creating a savory dish. When I was trying to figure out what ingredient would pair well with the kiwifruit, I immediately thought of crab. Crab meat has a delicate, sweet flavor and I thought that the SunGold kiwifruit would work perfectly with it without overwhelming it.
So I decided to make crab cakes. I’m really excited about this recipe because I’ve been meaning to post my crab cake recipe on the blog for a long time. You see, I love crab cakes but I don’t like the typical ones that you get at restaurants that are fried and have more breadcrumbs and fillers than actual crabmeat. These crab cakes are the real deal. They’re inspired by the Chesapeake Bay crab cakes that you find along the coast of Maryland that are bursting with fresh, sweet, blue crab meat.
My crab cakes are all about the crab! Packed with jumbo lump crabmeat, they have simple flavorings and just enough breadcrumbs to hold them together. I like to make fresh breadcrumbs from sandwich bread rather than using packaged breadcrumbs for this dish because they make for a lighter, flakier crab cake.
Most crab cakes are coated in breadcrumbs and fried. I do something different- I bake them instead. I gently form them into cakes and place them on a baking sheet. Then I brush them with a mixture of olive oil and a small amount of butter (to help them brown), add a sprinkle of paprika for color, and pop them in the oven. In 15 minutes, they’ll be baked to perfection and you can avoid the stress of trying to flip them in a frying pan!
To pair with the crab cakes, I made a colorful, fresh salsa that’s just bursting with different flavors and textures. The star of the salsa is the Zespri SunGold kiwifruit with its juicy golden flesh and tropical sweet flavor. I paired it with crunchy red bell pepper and red onion, herbaceous cilantro, jalapeño pepper for some heat, and fresh lime juice for a punch of acid. Sweet, salty, spicy and citrusy- it’s a flavor explosion!
For an elegant finishing touch, I made some SunGold sunbursts to garnish the plate. These adorable sunbursts are easy to make (you just need a sharp paring knife) and are a lovely addition to fruit salads and other dishes.
Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes with Tropical Kiwi Salsa
- 1 large egg
- 2 ½ tablespoons avocado oil mayonnaise (or other mayonnaise)
- 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ¾ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 lb. jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over for shells
- 1 ounce (about 1 cup) fresh breadcrumbs*
- 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- Olive oil spray
- Lemon wedges for serving
Tropical Kiwi Salsa:
- 1 ½ cups chopped Zespri SunGold kiwifruit (can substitute mango)
- ⅓ cup chopped bell pepper
- ¼ cup chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoon chopped jalapeño pepper
- 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Whisk the egg, mayonnaise, mustard, Old Bay, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the crab and gently mix to combine. Some of the pieces will break up but try to leave most of them whole. Add the breadcrumbs and parsley and gently mix to combine, being careful not to overmix it.
- Form the mixture into 8 cakes, compacting them just enough to hold together. Place them on a baking sheet sprayed with olive oil or cooking spray. Mix the olive oil and butter together in a small bowl. Brush the tops of the crab cakes with the mixture and sprinkle with a little paprika.
- Bake in the oven 15-17 minutes until crab cakes are cooked through and golden brown. Arrange them on a serving platter and top with salsa. Serve extra salsa on the side along with lemon wedges.
- To make the Tropical Kiwi Salsa, mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- To make fresh breadcrumbs, remove the crusts from a couple of pieces of sandwich bread and process them in a food processor until crumbs are formed. If using store bought breadcrumbs, use about ½ cup of panko breadcrumbs.
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To see how my fellow Reduxers used their SunGold kiwifruits, check out the links below!
An InLinkz Link-up