Crab Cakes with Sweet-and-Sour Cucumber Salad
- 1/2 lb. ground pork butt
- 2 shallots, finely minced, plus 1 large shallot, finely sliced
- 1 red serrano chili, minced
- 1 green onion, finely sliced
- 1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
- 3 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 Tbs. panko or fine dried white bread crumbs, or as needed, plus 1 cup for coating
- 1 Tbs. fish sauce
- 1 tsp. ground pepper
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. plus 2 Tbs. sugar
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 lb. cooked fresh crabmeat, flaked
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 English (hothouse) cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and thinly sliced
- 1 green serrano chili, finely chopped
- 2 Tbs. chopped roasted peanuts
- Peanut oil or corn oil for frying
Place the 1 cup panko in a shallow dish. Scoop up 1/3 cup crab mixture and form it into a cake 3 inches in diameter and 3/4 inch thick. Dip each crab cake into the panko, pressing it into the crumbs and turning to coat both sides. Arrange on a baking sheet. You should have 8 cakes. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar, 2 Tbs. sugar and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until a light syrup forms, about 5 minutes. Let cool. Place the cucumber, green serrano chili and sliced shallot in a nonaluminum bowl; add the vinegar mixture, stir gently and let stand for 15 minutes. Divide the cucumber salad among 4 small plates. Just before serving, sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1 Tbs. cilantro and the peanuts.
In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, pour oil to a depth of 1/4 inch and heat to 360°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Add the crab cakes without crowding them in the pan and fry, turning once, until crisp and golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Using a slotted spatula, transfer to paper towels to drain.
Serve hot with the cucumber salad.