Shrimp Cakes Salad with Lime Dressing
Shrimp cakes, crunchy outside and soft within, flavored with lime, cilantro and red chilies, are served over a bed of tender greens and soft avocado and anointed with a punchy lime dressing. Perfect for hot summer days!
Servings Prep Time
4 20minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
5minutes 15 – 20minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 20minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
5minutes 15 – 20minutes
For the Shrimp Cakes & Salad:
For the Salad:
For the Dressing:
  1. Start by making the shrimp cakes: mince the white bottoms from the green onions very finely and add them to a large mixing bowl with the minced chili, lime zest, fish sauce, and a bit of salt. Set aside.
  2. Throw half of the shrimp into a food processor and pulse a few times to break them up into chunks, roughly cutting them into thirds (about 5-6 pulses). Add the remaining shrimp to the processor and pulse a few more times—say about 8—so that the first batch of shrimp is finely minced, verging on a paste, and the second is still pretty chunky.
  3. Tip the processed shrimp into the mixing bowl, and sprinkle over 4 tablespoons of the panko. Gently mix to combine either by hand or with a fork, taking care not to overwork the mix—that’ll make your cakes tough.
  4. Line a plate with plastic wrap. With either your hands or a small scoop (3/4oz) make up 16 little shrimp meatballs, about 1 – 1 ½ tablespoons in size (or you can make 12 slightly larger ones). Cover this with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 15 – 20 minutes, or up to 12 hours. This will help them set and firm up a bit.
  5. Make the dressing by whisking everything, sans oil, together in a small bowl. Gradually drizzle in the oil, whisking all the while, until emulsified. Set in the fridge for now. (See note regarding make-ahead)
  6. Arrange the mixed leaves on individual plates or a large platter and scatter with the ½ cup of cilantro leaves and thinly sliced greens from the scallions, sliced on a bias for aesthetics.
  7. When the time comes to fry the shrimp cakes, heat a thin layer of vegetable oil in a large, preferably non-stick, skillet—about a tablespoon or two for a 12″ pan. Actually, cooking spray works very well with these, too. The point here is not to deep-fry them, or even shallow fry – what you want is to treat these almost like little shrimpy burgers.
  8. Anyway… Put the remaining breadcrumbs on a plate and roll a few of the shrimp balls in the crumbs until they’re coated. Press down on them to from a cake and add to the pan. I find it much easier to roll them in the crumbs and then press rather than pressing them out into patties and then coating – this way none of the shrimp mixture sticks to your fingers or palms (or at least not as much does).
  9. Fry the cakes in the oil, in batches, on one side for just 2 minutes before flipping and cooking only an additional 1 – 2 minutes. They should be golden on both sides. Remove to a wire cooling wrack while you fry the rest.
  10. Top the salads with the cakes and the avocado, either sliced into fans, cut into chunks or scooped with a spoon (at the last minute to retain their color) and drizzle the whole thing with the dressing just before serving.
Recipe Notes
  • Freeze the shells and tails from the shrimp to make shrimp stock later.
  • With regards to processing the shrimp, you want some of them broken down quite fine, almost to a paste, but a lot of pretty good-sized chunks in there, still. If you go as far as to puree them your cakes will be gummy but if they’re too coarsely chopped the cakes will never stick together. It’s not an exact science. Just be sure to not puree it completely and you’ll be fine.
  • MAKING THE DRESSING AHEAD: If you’re going to make the dressing in advance at all, either hold back the minced cilantro or mix it into the vegetable oil in a separate bowl before whisking it into the lime juice base to keep it from discoloring. The latter will delay the discoloring by at least a few hours, but if you want to make it in advance any more than that just wait to add the cilantro in.

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