Happy Fourth of July dear eaters!


If you didn’t reign in the holiday with last Sunday’s episode of Food Network Star, then this is your weekend to shine with these explosively good, easy crab cakes and coconut-curry coleslaw. Freedom most certainly includes second chances, and thankfully I was given another week to compete on Food Network Star, plus this holiday morning to wrap my head around the “right” way to make crab cakes.

As seen on Food Network Star Episode 5 this past sunday, silly as it is, I just didn’t know that crab cakes go hand-in-hand with the phrase “it tastes like crab!” This is one of this instances where I chalk up being misinformed to my muddled upbringing. Some things just fell between the cracks in my British-Italian family. For example, beach-goers in Italy err on the side of nudity, most certainly topless, and most certainly children with chests flat as doors. As a kid on summer holidays in Ravena, I remember shopping for bikini bottoms ONLY, and wore them proudly … topless … until at least the age of 9. Yes, in America too. No big deal, right? My innocence was snatched away when my classmate Meredith confronted me at the local pond in Connecticut where I was building sand castles in my polka-dot bikini (bottom). She said, “why aren’t you wearing your top!?!?” I felt my cheeks flush with embarrassment, not unlike the experience of watching myself scrape sorry crab cakes off the grill on Food Network Star this past Sunday. (Revisit my Episode 5 Recap; in this post I have bigger fish to fry).


I stand by my reflection on Kenny’s gravy boat in Episode 2: don’t be afraid to make new mistakes in the kitchen – this is how we learn and grow our kitchen confidence. Just don’t try something new when you make it onto Food Network Star, because if you fail, you will be grilled by the judges!

So, in order to bring you a crab cake that won’t disappoint your plate but still lets me bend the rules, I’ve scoured my cookbooks and drawn inspiration from my favorite cooking pals including Farideh Sadeghin, who runs the test kitchen at Saveur Magazine and happens to be an Annapolis native. These crab cakes have their fair share of Frisch Twists, but between the decadent crunch of coconut shreds and the tang of mint and yogurt, I promise to bring you a whopping mouthful of crabby flavor. You will say “THEY TASTE LIKE CRAB!” To pair is my curried coleslaw, with a coconut dressing that won’t leave you missing mayo.

Free yourself in the kitchen, and enjoy the fireworks! (Crab Cake recipe below)


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Coconut Crab Cakes and Curried Coleslaw

There are several options for sourcing crab meat. You can sometimes find crab meat in a can, but I usually like to head straight to the fishmonger at my grocery store and ask for the most affordable option for making crab cakes. You might find crab claws at a good price – you can steam them and pull out the meat (this will be the best). Or, you can find crab meat already cooked and prepared in the refrigerated section or frozen crab meat. If using a frozen option, defrost the crab meat beforehand and drain the excess water.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 minute
  • Yield: 10 1x


  • Curried Slaw:
  • Red cabbage, 6 cups shredded or finely sliced
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Carrot, 1 cup shredded
  • Red onion, 1/2 cup finely sliced
  • Whole coconut milk, 1/3 cup
  • Olive oil, 1.5 tablespoons
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice, 1 tablespoon
  • Honey, 1 tablespoon
  • Apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon
  • Yellow curry powder, 1 tablespoon
  • Freshly ginger, 1/4 teaspoon grated
  • Ground cinnamon, a pinch less than 1/4 teaspoon
  • Optional: Fresh cilantro or mint leaves, 1 cup coarsely chopped
  • Coconut Crab Cakes:
  • Coconut shreds – 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons
  • Crab meat – 1 pound
  • Greek yogurt – 1/2 cup
  • Lime juice – 1.5 teaspoons, freshly squeezed
  • Fresh ginger – 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated
  • Egg – 1, beaten
  • Chili flakes – 1/4-1/2 teaspoon, or substitute with Sriracha
  • Fresh mint leaves – 1 tablespoon, minced
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Coconut oil – 1/4 cup


  1. Curried Slaw:
  2. Put the cabbage and salt in a bowl and massage with your hands until the cabbage begins to release water. Let the cabbage sit for about 10 minutes and then drain the water.
  3. Toss the shredded carrots and red onion with the cabbage.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients except for the fresh cilantro or mint. Add to the cabbage and carrot mixture, and toss thoroughly.
  5. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Just before serving, toss with the fresh herbs.
  6. Coconut Crab Cakes:
  7. In a pan, toast the coconut shreds over medium-low heat until they brown. Remove and set aside in a large bowl.
  8. Add the crab meat to the toasted coconut shreds and set aside.
  9. In a separate bowl whisk together the yogurt, lime juice, fresh ginger, egg, chili flakes (or Sriracha), mint and salt. Fold the yogurt mixture into the crab meat and mix well.
  10. Use your hands to form patties and set aside on a plate.
  11. Add the coconut oil to a large frying pan and heat over medium. Test the heat with a drop of the crab meat mixture. If it sizzles and begins to brown, you can begin to cook your crab cakes.
  12. Add the crab cakes to the pan, spacing them 1 inch apart. Fry until the underside turns golden brown, about 6 minutes. Use a spatula to flip them and brown the other side. Transfer to a plate with a paper towel to drain the excess oil.


Allergens: eggs, fish

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