In Crystal Cruises®, Featured Posts


Chef Jon Ashton Crab Cakes

Fresh, Rich Flavors of the Sea with an Asian Twist and Our New Favorite Way to Eat Salad

Appetizer, passed amuse bouche or entrée, there is no wrong way to enjoy crab cakes. The golden browned bites from the sea instantly conjure images of exploring the world’s oceans and the iconic crabbing and fishing harbors of Alaska and New England as they melt in your mouth. While we’ll virtually visit Alaska this 30th Anniversary Wanderlust Wednesday as we reflect on where Crystal began and the many adventures to come, today we’re prepping the pantry for crab cakes reminiscent of the region, served with a creamy Asian sauce and fresh avocado. Think Alaska meets Silk Kitchen & Bar.

Beautifully complementing the seafood symphony is a delicious twist on a Caesar salad, with cheesy-nutty-spicy-toasty ingredients wrapped gently with endive lettuce wedges. The combo is perfect for summer afternoons al fresco (feel free to imagine yourself on the open decks of your favorite Crystal ship, taking in the sea breeze). Bonus: Both dishes also pair perfectly with champagne – also reminiscent of sparkling moments on board and toasts to wonderful memories and milestones. For those who prefer something more complex, don’t miss this Thirsty Thursday’s special 30th Anniversary cocktail.

In the meantime, prep your pantry with the detailed recipes below and plan to join us LIVE for Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon Ashton on Sunday, July 26 on the Crystal Cruises Facebook page. We’ll see you in the kitchen.

Crab Cakes with Avocado and Creamy Asian Sauce
By Chef Jon Ashton


1 pound jumbo lump crab meat (450 g)
1 cup milk (240 ml)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (30 g)
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
4 ounces shrimp, peeled, de-veined and tails removed (125 g)
1/4 cup heavy cream (60 ml)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (10 ml)
1/2 teaspoon five spice (2 ml)
1/2 cup cornstarch (56 g)
1/2 cup All-Purpose flour (60 g)
3 egg whites, whisked
2 cup panko breadcrumbs (400 g)
Canola oil

Creamy Asian Sauce:

1/4 cup mayo (60 ml)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon tomato ketchup (15 ml, plus 5 ml)
1/4 teaspoon sesame seed oil (1 ml)
1 teaspoon honey (5 ml)
1/2 teaspoon garlic puree (2 ml)
1 teaspoon lemon juice (5 ml)


Place crab meat and milk in medium sized bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

For the sauce, in a small bowl, whisk all ingredients together, taste for seasoning. Place sauce in fridge. 

Crab Cakes:

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add celery and onion, pinch salt, and a little pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened (about 5-7 minutes). Remove pan from heat and place vegetables in a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. Rinse out pan and wipe clean.

Strain crab meat through fine-mesh strainer, pressing to remove milk, please be careful not to break up big lumps of crab meat.

Place shrimp in food processor and blend until finely ground, use a spatula scraping down bowl as needed. Add heavy cream and pulse to combine. Transfer shrimp puree to bowl with cooled vegetables. Add mustard, and five spice powder; stir until well combined. Add strained crab meat and fold gently with rubber spatula, being careful not to over mix and break up lumps of crab meat. Divide mixture into 4 balls and firmly press into patties. Place cakes on rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Combine cornstarch and flour in a medium sized bowl. Set aside. Using another bowl, lightly beat egg whites. Set aside. In a third bowl, add panko breadcrumbs.

Dredge one crab cake at a time in the flour, turning to coat and shaking off excess. Next, dip into the egg white, again making sure to coat completely and allowing the excess to drop back into the bowl. Then, coat with breadcrumbs, patting firmly so breadcrumbs adhere, but be careful not to coat too thickly. Place coated crab cakes on piece of parchment paper or a large baking sheet.

Add enough oil to coat bottom of empty skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Place 4 crab cakes in skillet and cook without moving them until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Using 2 spatulas, carefully flip cakes. Add 1 tablespoon oil, reduce heat to medium-low, and continue to cook until second side is golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. You are looking for an internal temperature 155°F (68°C).  

Serves 4 people 

Chef Jon Ashton Endive Lettuce Cups
Chef Jon Ashton Endive Lettuce Cups

Endive Lettuce Cups 
By Chef Jon Ashton



2 garlic cloves 
4 large anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or Chardonnay vinegar (30 ml)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (60 ml)


1 1/2 cups ½-inch cubes of day-old bread (125 g)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1 cup walnuts (113 g)
Freshly ground black pepper
Chili flakes
1/3 cup irregular pieces (1/4 inch) Manchego cheese (40 g)
1/3 cup irregular pieces (1/4 inch) Parmigiano-Reggiano (40 g)

For the Endives: 

4 endives
Pinch salt Kosher salt
1 medium orange
1 Tablespoon Chardonnay vinegar (15 ml)
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (2 ml)


For vinaigrette: Pound the garlic cloves into a paste in a mortar with the pestle. Add the anchovies and pound until everything is fairly smooth but still slightly chunky. Add the vinegar, olive oil, and a dash of salt and pepper to taste. Mix to combine. The vinaigrette may not look emulsified, don’t worry. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, finely mince garlic and anchovies and place in a bowl and whisk in other ingredients. 

Make the Filling:

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Place the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toss with a few teaspoons of olive oil and season with pinch of salt, then spread them out. Spread the walnuts out on a separate baking sheet. Toast the bread and walnuts in the oven, tossing them every few minutes. Remove the nuts once they brown and well toasted, they should smell nutty (about 8 minutes). Remove the bread once it’s dark brown and toasted

Combine the toasted bread, walnuts, cheeses and chili flake in a large bowl. Dress with the vinaigrette, gently toss to coat everything. 

Season the endives with a pinch of salt. Using a rasp grater (Microplane), grate the zest of the orange evenly over the top of the endives. Cut orange in half and squeeze the juice over the leaves. Sprinkle vinegar and gently toss the leaves to coat. Please be careful not to bruise the leaves. Place filling on a large platter and serve with seasoned leaves. 

Serves 4-6 people 

Crystal’s Crystal@Home: A Virtual Cruise Experience program brings several elements of the renowned Crystal Experience directly to guests, wherever in the world they are. “Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon Ashton” represents the culinary excellence found aboard Crystal ships, as some of the greatest travel memories are created over the greatest meals.

Crystal invites travelers to book now and save with added peace of mind and flexibility as we look ahead to sailing together again.

Share Tweet Pin It +1

You may also like