Not too long ago I discovered a Japanese restaurant in Gardena, California that sells the most incredible Japanese breakfast. We're talking about a full breakfast spread with grilled fish or steak, natto, Japanese egg omelet, and various pickled vegetables. In addition to their breakfasts, they also make the best katsu sandwich. I know I can't make it as good as them so I decided to make a different variation featuring crab. Introducing my crab croquette sandwich inspired by pork katsu sandwich!
Crab Croquette Sandwich
- 24 ounces lump crab meat
- 2 tablespoon butter
- ½ medium onion finely chopped
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour plus ½ cup for breading
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1 cup panko
- 2 teaspoon togarashi
- 1 cup green cabbage finely shredded
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- salt and pepper
- 12 slices thick white bread
- 6 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ¾ cup bulldog sauce
- Prepare the crab croquettes. Melt 2 tablespoon butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add ¼ cup flour, stirring to combine. Add the milk and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the crab and lemon juice and season the mixture with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Drizzle 2 tablespoon on a baking sheet pan.
- Set up a breading station, placing ½ cup flour in one bowl, 2 eggs in another, and 1 cup panko with 2 teaspoon togarashi in a third.
- Shape the crab mixture into 6 patties, about ½ cup each. Carefully dredge the crab cakes in flour, shaking off the excess. Dip them in the egg, making sure to coat both sides then coat with the seasoned panko. Lay the crab cakes on the prepared sheet pan. Spray the crab cakes with a generous amount of cooking spray and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, flipping them over halfway through.
- While the crab cakes are baking, make the cabbage slaw. Whisk together 1 tablespoon rice vinegar with 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Toss the cabbage with the dressing and season with salt and pepper.
- Toast the bread and spread about 1 tablespoon dijon mustard on one slice. Top with a crab cake and drizzle about 2 tablespoon bulldog sauce on top. Pile on the cabbage and top with another slice of bread. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
To make the crab croquette sandwich, first, make the crab croquettes. I wanted to use good quality crab since the croquettes are the star of the sandwich. If you can, use lump crab meat.
Saute the finely chopped onion in butter until softened and translucent. Add the flour, stirring to coat the onion, then, add the milk. We're basically making a roux with butter, flour, and milk.
Add the crab meat and lemon juice to the mixture and cook for another minute. Season the crab with salt and pepper and let it cool completely.
Once the crab is cool enough to handle, set up your breading station. Place the flour in one bowl, eggs in another, and the panko with togarashi in a third. I highly recommend using panko and not Italian-style breadcrumbs because it has more texture.
Shape the crab into 6 patties and dredge them in the flour, followed by the egg and panko.
I chose to bake the crab cakes just for the sake of ease but you can also pan-fry them. The traditional route is to deep-fry which you can also do. If you want to pan-fry or deep-fry the crab croquettes, chill the croquette for 30 minutes before cooking them. This will help them keep their shape as they cook.
While the crab croquettes are cooking, prepare the remaining ingredients including the cabbage slaw. Pork katsu sandwiches always are topped with a lightly dressed cabbage slaw and bulldog sauce so I decided to keep that the same. If you're not familiar, bulldog sauce is a Japanese tonkatsu sauce. You can always make it from scratch but I always just buy the bottle.
Use thick slices of bread for the sandwich so that it can hold the weight of the crab croquettes. Toast the bread and assemble your sandwiches, topping the crab with the tonkatsu sauce and slaw.
Now open wide and take a big bite of that glorious crab croquette sandwich. Even though this version has crab, the sandwich is just as delicious as the original pork katsu sandwich. The crab is incredibly creamy with a lovely crunchy exterior. Paired with the slightly tangy slaw, this sandwich is a winner.
For more crab inspiration check out this sesame crusted crab cake with yuzu chili sauce recipe!