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Rock Shrimp Cakes

Josiah Citrin adds kataifi--finely shredded wheat used in many Greek pastries--in place of bread crumbs to make his seafood cakes extra crisp. He serves his appetizer with lemony whipped cream, but it's also wonderful with simple lemon wedges.


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  • 1/2 pound rock shrimp or shelled and deveined medium shrimp, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups finely chopped kataifi
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives
  • Vegetable oil, for frying


How to make this recipe

  1. In a bowl, mix the shrimp with the orange zest, lime zest and 1/2 teaspoon of the lemon zest. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.
  2. Put the flour, eggs and kataifi in separate bowls. Divide the shrimp mixture in half. Using lightly oiled hands, shape each half into twelve 1/3-inch-thick cakes. Dip each shrimp cake in the flour and shake off the excess. Dip the cakes in the egg, then coat with kataifi. Transfer to a plate and refrigerate until ready to fry.
  3. In a medium bowl, whip the cream until firm. Stir in the lemon juice, chives and the remaining 1 teaspoon of lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Preheat the oven to 300°. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil until shimmering. Add 6 to 8 shrimp cakes and fry over moderately high heat until browned and crisp, about 2 minutes per side; lower the heat to moderate if the oil gets too hot. Transfer the cakes to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Repeat the process with the remaining shrimp cakes, adding more oil to the skillet as needed.
  5. Arrange the shrimp cakes on a warm platter and top each one with a small spoonful of the lemon whipped cream. Serve the cakes hot or warm.

Make Ahead

The shrimp cakes can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Contributed By Photo © Reed Davis Published March 2000

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