How to make Columbia Restaurant’s Devil Crab

July 30, 2014 | South Tampa Magazine | Categories: Editorial, Food | Tags: Columbia Restaurant, devil crab recipe


***Croquette Dough***

3 loaves stale white bread, crusts removed

1 loaf stale Cuban bread, ground very fine and sifted

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon salt

***Crabmeat Filling***

5 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil

3 onions, finely chopped

1/2 red or green bell pepper, finely chopped (Italian style)

4 cloves garlic, mashed or chopped fine

1 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 can (6 ounce size) tomato paste

1 pound fresh claw crabmeat, shell and cartilage removed, shredded


2 eggs, well beaten

1/2 cup milk

Salt to taste

1 pinch black pepper

1 cup cracker crumbs, crushed

1/2 cup flour

Vegetable oil for deep frying

This recipe is from the Columbia Restaurant, Tampa, Florida. 

About 4 hours before serving, make dough. Break white bread into pieces, place in a large bowl, cover with water and soak for 15 minutes. Drain water and squeeze soaked bread until almost dry and return to bowl. Gradually add sifted Cuban bread until mixture reaches dough consistency. Add paprika and salt, mix thoroughly. Form dough into ball and refrigerate about 2 hours. 

Make filling: Heat olive oil in large skillet. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic and hot pepper, saute very slowly 15 minutes. Add bay leaves, sugar, salt and tomato paste and stir. Cook uncovered 10 minutes, remove bay leaves. Place mixture on platter, refrigerate 2 hours. 

After dough and filling have chilled, make croquettes. With your hands, take about three tablespoons of bread dough, press, add one tablespoon of crab filling and seal dough around filling like a croquette with pointed ends. In a small bowl, mix eggs, milk, salt and pepper. In another bowl, mix cracker crumbs and flour. Roll croquettes first into cracker mixture then into egg mixture then into cracker mixture again. Refrigerate 2 hours. When ready to cook, heat oil in deep heavy saucepan or a deep fryer. Place croquettes a few at a time in the hot oil, fry until light brown.
Makes 12

Screen shot 2014-07-28 at 1.22.00 PM