Green Chile Crab Cakes with Tomatillo Salsa

The best American name for this vegetable would probably be “Mexican green tomato”, but they actually taste nothing like regular tomatoes, In fact, the tomatillo is not a tomato at all. The tomatillo has a tart, lemony flavor that is enhance when cooked (especially roasted) and is an excellent base for salsas. While salsa (salsa verde) is the most popular way to enjoy tomatillo, they can be used in other ways. Tomatillos contain high amounts of vitamin A&C. Tomatillos are our #2 sales item!

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For the salsa:
1 lb tomatillos, papery skins removed, halved
1 medium-sized yellow onion, sliced
5 cloves garlic, peeled
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt, or more to taste

For the crab cakes:

4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium-sized yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 roasted poblano chile (see instructions below)
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 lb lump crabmeat, cleaned
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper


To roast the chile:
Preheat the broiler. Broil the chile about 2 minutes per side, until blackened and blistered on all sides. Remove from the broiler using tongs or oven mitts and enclose in a paper bag to sweat for 5 minutes. (You can also place the chile on a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 5 minutes.) Remove the chiles from the bag/bowl and peel. Slice in half and remove and discard the stems and seeds. If you want some extra heat, keep some of the seeds. Dice the chiles and set aside.

To make the salsa:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place the tomatillos, onion, and garlic on a baking pan. Drizzle the olive oil over the vegetables and roast, stirring once, for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are brown around the edges. Cool the vegetables for 10 minutes. Spoon the vegetables into a blender or a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until puréed. Transfer the purée to a glass jar and refrigerate until cold, about 45 minutes.

To make the crab cakes:
Melt 2 tbsp of the butter and 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, garlic, and both chiles. Sauté for 5 minutes. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel (it will be used again to saute the crab cakes).

In a large bowl, combine the crabmeat, lime juice, cilantro, eggs, 2 cups of the breadcrumbs, the mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. Stir in the vegetable mixture and form into 8 to 10 3-inch-diameter patties. Pour the remaining 1 cup breadcrumbs into a medium bowl. Coat the patties in crumbs.

Melt the remaining 2 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp olive oil in the same large skillet over medium heat. Add the crab cakes and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside. Serve immediately with the tomatillo salsa.

Leftover crab cakes can be wrapped tightly and refrigerated for 2 days. Set the oven rack in the middle of the oven and reheat the crab cakes under the broiler for 2 minutes.