Making the Most of Imitation Crab Meat
Ready to take this stuff from behind closed doors to center stage? Wanting a few more options for seafood on the cheap? This consistently affordable protein source has more flexibility than I could have ever dreamed. Read on to find out which recipes made my personal cut.
More formally known as surimi, imitation crab meat is what many people on a budget reach for when they are craving seafood. It's affordable, flexible and doesn't need to be cooked ahead of time. So how do you sex it up? Following are a few suggestions.
Appetizers and Snacks
The options in this category were almost overwhelming. When attempting to select the best of the best, I managed to narrow it down to less than twenty. Included in the snack and appetizer category are stuffed mushroom caps, a recipe or two for seafood nachos, chilled crab-stuffed veggies and cucumber canapes (delish, by the way – we tried them this weekend), sushi, regular and Vietnamese style fish ball appetizers, quesadillas, hot dip, party spread and stuffed jalapeños. A few others that made a rock star impression?
- Savory seafood cheesecake appetizer.
- Stuffed phyllo cups.
- Unique crab flavored cheese ball rolled in sunflower kernels or your favorite chopped nuts.
- Homemade crab rangoons.
With this many seriously grown up snack options, imitation crab meat is clearly seafood product that can hold its own.
Ready to bring this stuff center stage on the dinner plate? I found numerous options in both the side dish and entrée categories, including stuffed shells, quiche, spinach and seafood egg rolls, regular and Italian style crab cakes, lasagna roll ups, casseroles and seafood stuffing. Several others made the cut as well:
- Seafood and artichoke orzo.
- Fish balls, both curried and served up with Chinese cabbage.
- Crab and couscous stuffed peppers.
- Korean seafood and vegetable pancakes.
- Seafood stuffed chicken breasts.
Salivating for something that celebrates the sea while sipping your pinot grigio? I'm happy to report that I had quite a bit of luck in this department as well. How about open faced sandwiches on English muffins, hot toasted oven subs, a slaw, salad, ceviche or even a crab pizza? Also of note were this California wrap, Asian seafood tart and several soup ideas. Three of my favorites? A winter squash and crab bisque, cream of seafood and celery soup, and a cheesy corn and crab chowder, all of which would be great with some homemade batter bread.
There weren't a ton of options in this category, but these three unusual sounding ones did manage to float to the top of my internet radar.
- Crab and cheddar waffles. (These should definitely take the breakfast for dinner concept to the next level.)
- Creamy crab sauce on corn pancakes.
- Seafood strata. (Great for a brunch buffet and coffee bar event.)
While I didn't run into recipes for them, I would think a seafood and horseradish crepe or Swiss cheese and surimi frittata would be easy enough to invent on one's own.
So there you have it. Four main categories with detailed suggestions on making the most of imitation crab meat. For those of you who have been craving more fish in your diet and wondering how to make it happen on a budget, I trust I've covered the concept in the last couple of articles. Got another great budget tip for imitation crab meat? Feel free to share below.