Imitation crabmeat fits right in with any seafood recipe you already enjoy. It is, after all, actual fish: it’s just not real shellfish. Use it in seared crab cakes, stuffed fish or even stir-fry entrees. The other upside is that because of the way it’s processed, you don’t have to cook it if you don’t want to. This means you’re also free to use imitation crabmeat in cold dishes like salads, if you wish.
Sauteing on the Stove
Use your stovetop to heat up imitation crabmeat, using a large saute pan. Mix the imitation crabmeat with breadcrumbs, an egg, diced celery, chopped fresh dill, mustard, lemon and a touch of mayonnaise. Combine the ingredients and form small patties. Allow the formed patties to chill in your refrigerator and stiffen while you get side dishes together. Heat your skillet, add oil and sear the crab patties until they’re golden brown on both sides. For a lighter alternative meal, gather up some stir-fry veggies — onions, baby corn, bell peppers, pea pods and broccoli. Add them to a hot skillet with oil. Get some rice cooking on another burner. Once your veggies are tender and your rice is cooked, toss in chopped imitation crabmeat. Add it last so it doesn’t overcook and dry out.
Using Your Oven
Mix the imitation crabmeat with fresh dill, salt, pepper and a touch of mustard. This is the filling for stuffed fish. Pick up a couple fillets of flat white fish, such as cod or haddock. Cut the fish in half, leaving two shorter pieces. Add a few scoops of the imitation crab to each piece and roll them up. You can also fillet the fish lengthwise, so they open up like a book. Stuff the imitation crabmeat inside. After a little prep work, simply place your imitation crab dish into the oven and get the rest of your meal together. Raw fish needs to be cooked until it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit before serving. In addition, your oven is another way to cook crab patties or meatballs, which are perfect additions for salads and pastas.
Cooking Breakfast Meals
Imitation crabmeat doesn’t have to be a main course later in the day. Enjoy it at breakfast. Chop veggies like onions, mushrooms and peppers and heat them in a small saute pan with a drizzle of oil. Add in small pieces of imitation crabmeat once the veggies are soft. Break a few eggs into a bowl, stir them and pour them over the mixture to form an omelet. Alternatively, stir everything together for a crab scramble. Sprinkle with a little Monterrey jack or white cheddar cheese for added creaminess.
Following Chilled Recipes
Don’t stress if you don’t have time to cook a hot meal. Make a chilled imitation crabmeat salad — like potato or egg salad but with crabmeat. You’ll need mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, lemon, finely diced green onions, bell peppers and a drizzle of hot sauce, if desired. Taste it as you’re mixing until you have the flavor you want. This mixture is ideal for lettuce wraps, chopped salads or as a sandwich filler on a hoagie roll.
References and ResourcesFood Republic: What Is Imitation Crab?
Betty Crocker: Stir-Fried Broccoli with Crabmeat
Texas Cooking: Cooking with Imitation Crabmeat, Shellfish
FoodSafety.gov: Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures
ResourcesMonterey Bay Aquarium Foundation: Crab, Imitation (Alaska Pollock)
USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service: "Danger Zone" (40 °F - 140 °F)