These extra Crispy Crab Cakes are restaurant quality right in your own home! Crispy on the outside, moist, juicy, flavor packed on the inside. And if you have never made crab cakes before you are going to be delighted and shocked at just how easy they are and they make fabulous no stress, make ahead appetizers that you can reheat!
I have long been a lover of crab cakes. I think it’s a texture thing. The crispiness giving way to juicy crab meat. so so good. Until recently, however, I never thought much about making my own at home. That is until I had the best crab cakes of my life in Kauai at Keoki’s Paradise. They were served with fresh corn salsa and a Tomatillo Aoili. I could have eaten them for days. Breakast, lunch, dinner. Repeat. And now we can all eat the next best thing – these Crispy Crab Cakes with Tomatillo Aoili!
But before I go on and on about that deliciousness that is these Crispy Crab Cakes, I am super excited to share a little bit about my trip to Kauai! If you have been to Kauai, then you understand that it is one of the most paradisaical places on earth. The whole island is either green or blue in every direction, carpeted by lush landscape and swimming with turquoise waters. I recently had the privilege to explore the island with some food blogging friends where we dined at some of the best restaurants and stayed at the most amazing The Villas at Poipu Kai. In the hopes that you visit this tropical paradise, here is an abbreviated list of the some of the best places to eat and best things to do while in Kauai!
WHERE TO EAT
- Keoki’s Paradise: The atmosphere is breathtaking with a patio overlooking a green oasis complete with several water features. They feature live music, farm to table produce, and of course the most amazing food, including Crab Cakes, Thai Grilled Shrimp and the most amazing Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich.
- Kalapaki Beach Hut: This is a casual walk up and order joint with drool worthy Teriyaki Burgers and the Loco Moco is out of this world, and you can’t beat the prices – or the taste. Hands down the best value for your $ on the island.
- Kalapaki Joe’s: has a super fun atmosphere complete with live music when a game isn’t going on and opens up to a beautiful scenic view with windows facing the ocean. The Coconut Shrimp, (best I’ve ever had) the Carne Asada Fries and the Cajun Shrimp Caesar Salad were all to live for!
- Merriman’s: We were oohing and ahhing the entire night over not only Merriman’s view (HERE) but their Sweet Corn Jalapeño Whipped Potatoes, Kauai Shrimp and the best melt-in-your-mouth-filet mignon I have ever had. And I’ve had a lot of filet mignons. Some of my favorite bites of our trip.
- The Fresh Shave: We tried to stop by The Fresh Shave every chance we got – I think we made it 3 times but wish it would have been more! The Shave Ice has to be the best on the island and the creatively delicious flavor combinations sourced from locally, organic produce can’t be beat.
- Hukilau Lanai: This restaurant made you feel like you were dining in a tropical garden with lush greenery and live music. The cuisine is crafted from local ingredients with unique flavor combinations such as the out of this word Opah with Kombacha Pumpkin Curry and Pineapple Chutney (unreal!) and Ahi Poke Nachos with Wonton Chips.
- Duke’s Kauai: was definitely one of my favorite restaurants on the island and is only 5 minutes from the airport so it is a MUST! Whether you are seated on the patio with a full ocean view or seated inside surrounded by lush foliage and koi pond, you will be in heaven every second. We all LOVED our food and all wanted to go back again and again. The Pulled Pork Sandwich, Korean Tacos, Fish Tacos and of course the Hula Pie were all highlights that I can’t stop dreaming about.
- Eating House 1849 is the creation of award winning Chef Roy Yamaguchi and it is nothing short of spectacular. From the open window, ocean view ambiance to the glass front kitchen, to the modern lighting and décor, to every exquisite bite, you will fall in love. I particularly loved the Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes, Crispy Fried Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts, Ribeye Tataki and Spicy Ramen Bowl (pictured below).
WHAT TO DO
While we all live for food, a few excursions worth mentioning are the:
- AULII LUAU: I was blown away by this ocean front Aulii Luau. It definitely lived up to its reputation as one of the best on Kauai. From the ocean view backdrop all night long (including sunset!), to the scrumptious buffet (not just any buffet but super, super quality) to the stunningly beautiful and dynamic Polynesian dancing and flame throwing, the Aulii Luua makes for one of the most delicious and magical nights not to be missed!
- RAINBOW KAYAK: complete with hiking through a mango tree forest to a gorgeous waterfall, lunch on the water bank and kayaking with gorgeous scenic views! You will love the seeing the island “hands on” and the knowledgeable tour guide was phenomenal.
- HOLO HOLO CHARTERS SAILING TRIP: sails along the breathtaking Na Pali Coast and in my book is a MUST see, SO gorgeous! We saw many pods of dolphins before we anchored at Niihau to snorkel among the lively reef. So, so magical.
- SUNSHINE HELICOPTERS: Splurging for a helicopter tour was worth every penny! We flew above the entire island, hovering beside waterfalls, dipping into canyons, and soaring along the breathtaking turquoise coastline all with knowledgeable commentary from our pilot. Definitely a spectacular once in a lifetime.
WHERE TO STAY
VILLAS AT POIPU KAI: All of these incredible adventures in food and outdoors are just a short drive from the dreamy Villas at Poipu Kai. The gorgeous Villas are extremely private, outfitted with fully equipped large, new kitchen/living rooms, huge balconies that open up off the common area (amazing indoor/outdoor living), laundry room, and even boogie boards, coolers etc. and my favorite, a very private pool and hot tub that feels amazing at the end of each day. I would go back to the Villas at Poipu Kai in a heartbeat, they are the most magical oasis to make a magical trip complete.
You can receive 20% off booking in May, September 1- November 15 when you call:
1-866-407-0249 and mention “Blog Kauai!”
KEOKI’S KAUAI inspired crab cakes
Now that we are all ready to jump on a plane to Kauai, just a couple quick notes about homemade crab cakes. For the best crab cakes, you are going to want to use the best fresh lump crab meat. I buy mine at Whole Foods but, and I know this is blasphemy to many, you can also use canned lump crab meat and still have delicious results. So if you are working with a budget, or you want to make crab cakes more often, or just want to experiment and try them once before splurging on fresh crab meat, then try canned crab meat and then when $$ or time allows, try the fresh stuff. I just don’t want the price of fresh crab meat to keep you from making these delectable morsels.
To make these Crispy Crab Cakes, simply combine your mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, egg and a plethora of hand picked seasonings to a bowl and mix then gently fold in your crab meat, panko and scallions. They key to avoiding rubbery crab cakes is not to overmix at this point, just enough to combine. Next, divide out your crab mixture into 9 even portions and form into patties, taking care not to pack the crab cakes too tightly so they don’t become dense hockey pucks. You then refrigerate 4-24 hours or freeze for 1 hour. This helps them bind together and makes them much easier to work with.
When you are ready to crisp up, simply coat them in panko (makes them oh so crispy! way better than just flour) then pan fry until golden, about 4-5 minutes per side. Serve with your Creamy Tomatillo Jalapeno Dip and you will be licking the plate clean and stealing your neighbors. Or sorely tempted to.
So while we all can’t travel to Kauai this second, I hope you can indulge in a taste of the island with these Crispy Crab Cakes ASAP and dream about warm waters, luscious green mountains and toes in the sand.
Want to try these Crispy Crab Cakes with Creamy Tomatillo Jalapeno Dip?
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I was not compensated for this post, however, Villas at Poipu Kai provided us with complimentary accommodations in order to experience their villas. Some meals and excursions were also complimentary. I am under no contractual or other obligation to provide a favorable opinion of the resort, restaurants or excursions. I loved my Kauai experience and am honored to share my favorites with you!
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