Don't tell Plankton, but as any astute watcher of Spongebob Squarepants knows, Krabby Patties aren't actually made with crab. Or even "krab." They're made out of chum, leftover scraps, making Krabby Patties the hot dogs of the sea. I'm going to show you how to make a gourmet Krabby Patty, and it doesn't contain any crab, either. Nope. It's all shrimp. And it came out even better than I expected.
Why shrimp? I've learned from many attempts at making Krabby Patties that making them with crab is a waste of good crab. You fry it up in hot oil in a pan and you lose a lot of crab flavor. Plus, it's beaucoup expensive. You may end up adding tons of breadcrumbs to stretch the recipe to feed more than one person, and then it ends up tasting more like breadcrumbs than crab. I've experimented with this recipe over the years. At one point, I started adding shrimp to bind it together and to stretch the crab. I kept adding more shrimp each time I made this until I recently came to the conclusion that it should just be all shrimp. Tastier, yet less expensive.
However, I don't recommend calling them shrimp burgers because whenever I do that people look at me warily. They waver when I offer them one. But, if I say, "Want a Krabby Patty?" they're immediately on the team. "I'll take two!" they exclaim.
What you'll need for 8 burgers
- 1 1/2 pounds of peeled, deveined shrimp
- 1 egg
- 10-12 regular-sized or smaller hamburger buns
- Lemon zest to taste
- Old Bay seasoning
- 1 Tbsp of our favorite hot sauce (I use Crystal)
- 1 tsp celery seed
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- Vegetable oil and/or butter for frying
- Butter lettuce
- Thinly sliced tomato
- Pickled onions (from this lovely Instructable)
- Tartar sauce
- Cocktail sauce
I make my own tartar sauce. I deplore mayonnaise. Instead, I use ranch dressing as a base and add 1/3 part diced onion, 1/3 part diced dill pickle, 1/3 part diced celery, and a good tablespoon of dill weed.
I also make cocktail sauce with a lot of horseradish. Take a jar, fill it 3/4 full with ketchup; fill the remaining jar with roughly equal amounts prepared horseradish, malt vinegar, and hot sauce. It's powerful stuff so a little dab will do ya.
Waldo enthusiasts may notice that there's a red pepper in the picture. I meant to put that in my chum but forgot it. Glad I didn't use it. Keep the chum pure.
Step 1: Prepare Your Chum
You will want to use a food processor for this. It's super easy and takes virtually no time.
First, take 3-4 of the hamburger buns and toss them into the food processor. Add all the dried spices, turn it on, and let it turn this into a very flavorful bread crumb mixture. Pour that into a big bowl.
Same thing with the shrimp. Toss it in and pulse it until the mixture is mostly very small pieces with some chunks of shrimp visible. My goal is to get this to be almost the consistency of raw breakfast sausage, the kind you make into sausage patties. Toss this into the bowl with the breadcrumbs. Add the lemon zest and hot sauce.
Crack an egg in there and mix it all up by hand. You're halfway there.
Step 2: Form Into Patties and Chill
You're goal is to make this into 8 patties. I grab an amount of chum that is somewhere in between a golf ball and a racquetball in size. Put some parchment paper or wax paper on a sheet pan and place your patties on the paper. You can even sort of form them on the paper if you are having a hard time making patties.
Once you have 8 patties, you are going to put this into either the refrigerator for 1/2 an hour or more or the freezer for 15 minutes or so. I use the freezer. This step is essential for removing your quite moist patties from the paper. My goal with these Krabby Patties is to make them stay very moist. I don't want them to dry out in any way, so this is how I handle them. By just almost slightly freezing them you can lift them off the paper with a spatula and place them in a hot pan without any trouble.
Step 3: Fry, Assemble, and Serve
Put a healthy amount of vegetable oil in a non-stick pan and heat it up. I add 1-2 tablespoons of butter to this because butter and shrimp seem to go well together. You can use all butter if you want, but that might brown your butter, which could add an unpleasant taste. Up to you.
Place four patties in the hot pan and cook on medium heat. Flip them carefully after 3-4 minutes and finish them for 3 minutes. Remove them from the pan and onto a plate.
Then, assemble your masterpieces. I usually go with bun, tartar sauce, Krabby Patty, butter lettuce, tomato slice, pickled onions, more tartar sauce, and a small amount of cocktail sauce on the top bun. I wouldn't go too hard on the saucing because you still want your burger — er, I mean Krabby Patty — to exhibit full flavor and not be covered up by all that sauce.
This is a great alternative to the usual burger cookout/dinner party/get together. It's really quite tasty and doesn't make you feel like you ate a giant ground beef stomach bomb. Which means you can eat two of these! Make some homemade french fries like I did. Perfect complement to these Krabby Patties.