Spring is here and these shrimp and zucchini cakes are perfect as a light entree, appetizer or lunch. In my neck of the woods zucchini and shrimp are available year round that I can prepare this dish any time. It reminds me of crab cakes (which I love), only better because it has vegetable in it. For shrimp and crab lovers, this will be a hit.
I remember my mother used to make savory squash (kabocha) fritters with fresh tiny shrimps (soft shells included) and when she fried them the house smelled so good. I wanted to showcase that flavor here just because it’s so good it makes me happy.
When buying shrimp, pick the medium size (25/30 count per pound) that is deveined already. Then remove the shell and chop it into 1/4-inch pieces. I chose to use fresh chives here for the lemon aioli dipping sauce because they’re milder compared to raw garlic cloves that have a much stronger, pungent flavor.
Cooking this dish can’t be any easier. Just mix all the ingredients, form patties, and start frying in olive oil. The result is utterly memorable.
Shrimp and Zucchini Cakes with Lemon Aioli Sauce
- 2 cups grated zucchini
- ¼ cup red bell pepper finely diced
- 2 green onion chopped
- 10 medium shrimp chopped
- 1 large beaten egg
- ½ cup Panko bread crumbs plus 2 Tbsp and more for coating
- 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground pepper plus more for dip
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 3 chives finely chopped
- 1 tsp Meyer lemon juice
- Use a box grater and use the biggest holes to grate the zucchini. Place the grated zucchini into a medium bowl.
- Add the red bell pepper, green onions, shrimp, egg, 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, salt and 1/2 tsp. ground pepper into the bowl. Mix together with a rubber spatula.
- Preheat the 2 Tbsp oil in a non-stick frying pan at medium/high heat. Spread about 2 Tbsp of bread crumbs on a platter. Form 8 equal size balls of the zucchini mixture and gently pat each one to flatten. Place each patty on the platter. Use a flat spatula to push around the sides to make it even.
- Use a flat spatula to pick up each patty and fry it in the hot oil for 3 minutes in 2 batches. Do not crowd them. Flip it over and cook for another 3 minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.
- For the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, chives and 2-3 grinds of black pepper.