Crab cakes with herb salad
29th January 2016

Crab cakes with herb salad

By Sara Photography by Sara

We have been back at work nearly one month and after a day in the office, my evenings are a balance of fresh air and spending a little time in the kitchen.  I say little because my weeknight dinners are always simple, they are colourful salads with the addition of seasonal fruit, a handful of nuts or seeds and chicken, venison or fish, flashed in a pan or on the grill.

I casually met Nigella Lawson on Monday night, well the truth is she signed my book and I very nervously (not casual at all) thanked her for inspiring us to cook whatever the heck we want.  I was mesmerised by her flawless complexion and I hung on her every lovely word about cooking and eating.  One resonating message was around removing the pressure associated with cooking; hence her new book titled “Simply Nigella”.  Because of my background in cooking, people often say “you must cook amazing meals at home”, a nervous laugh followed by a twinge of guilt and I think, if you only knew.  Nigella told me (and the other 799 people in the room) that the kitchen should be a pleasurable experience and if you are having a rough day, why make it rougher by cooking something complex?

Another Nigella-ism was that one should only apologise once for a disappointing meal.  There’s just no limit to how many times I can apologise, I’ll even carry on the next day if I have to.  And even when I’m semi-impressed with myself, I’ll then go on to pick the meal apart, identifying what could be improved for next time.   This has to stop, it’s boring and it really is a wonder people accept my dinner invitations at all.

After being away from home, Nigella goes straight to her kitchen, even before taking her coat off…me too.  I think by adopting a few of Nigella’s food philosophies it may make the kitchen a better, kinder place.


Serves 4 as an entree (2 cakes per person)
  • Crab cakes
  • 600g good quality canned crab meat
  • 1 free range egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup fresh egg mayonnaise (made with a generous amount of Dijon mustard and lime juice)
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped or ¼ cup pickled ginger (I used both)
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
  • ½ cup coriander stalks, finely chopped
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • Fine polenta for coating
  • Cucumber, herb and ginger salad
  • 1 telegraph cucumber, sliced finely into ribbons
  • 6 baby radishes, sliced finely
  • 1 cup coriander leaves
  • ½ cup fresh dill sprigs
  • Pickled ginger
  • To serve
  • 1 cup fresh egg mayonnaise
  • Lime slices or wedges


  • --
  • 1. Strain the tinned crab meat and then empty the meat into a clean tea towel. Use the tea towel to squeeze out all excess moisture from the crab meat.
  • 2. Lightly beat the egg and add to the crab meat.
  • 3. To the fresh egg mayonnaise add the spring onions, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, coriander and lime zest and juice and fish sauce.
  • 4. Fold the mayonnaise mixture through the crab meat and egg mixture.
  • 5. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 1 hour.
  • 6. While the crab mixture is chilling, prepare the salad. On plates assemble the cucumber, radish, coriander, dill and pickled ginger.
  • 8. Form cakes with the crab mixture and coat the cakes lightly in polenta.
  • 9. Cook the crab cakes for 10 minutes each side on either the grill or griddle of your DCS grill, set to medium.
  • 10. Serve the crab cakes on the salad, with a side of fresh egg mayonnaise and fresh lime slices or wedges.

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