Shrimp Cakes with Spicy Tartar Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes



Appears in

The Glory of Southern Cooking

The Glory of Southern Cooking

By James Villas

Published 2007

  • About

Linda Carman, former director of Martha White Kitchens in Nashville, Tennessee, not only knows all there is to know about Southern flour but can go on and on in her thick drawl about any particular Southern dish that sparks her passion. So when she began describing in detail the shrimp cakes with spicy tartar sauce that somebody had served as a first course at a luncheon she’d attended, I wasted no time trying to reproduce the recipe. Suffice it to say that these cakes are as sumptuous as any made with the finest crabmeat—and at a fraction of the cost.


The Shrimp Cakes

  • pounds fresh medium shrimp
  • 1 small lemon, cut in half
  • ½ cup finely diced scallions (part of green tops included)
  • ¼ cup finely diced celery
  • ¼ cup finely diced green bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and cayenne pepper to taste
  • 3 cups cornbread crumbs or soft bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

The Tartar Sauce

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons minced sweet pickle
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
  • 1 small red chile pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers, finely chopped


To make the shrimp cakes, place the shrimp and lemon in a pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat, cover, and let stand 1 minute. Drain, discard the lemon, and when the shrimp are cool enough to handle, peel, devein, and chop them finely.

In a large bowl, combine the shrimp, scallions, celery, bell pepper, parsley, mayonnaise, melted butter, egg, Worcestershire, salt and pepper, and 1 cup of the cornbread crumbs and stir till well blended. Form the mixture into 6 round or oval cakes and coat with the remaining crumbs. Place on a platter, cover with plastic wrap, and chill 1 hour.

Meanwhile, to make the tartar sauce, combine all the ingredients in a bowl, mix till well blended, and set aside.

In a large, heavy skillet, heat the butter and oil over moderate heat till a few crumbs tossed in sputter, add the shrimp cakes, and cook 3 minutes on each side till golden. Drain on paper towels and serve hot with dollops of sauce on top of each.