Dungeness Crab Arancini (Or Who Says Leftovers Are Bad?)


The hubster can be pretty picky when it comes to food, Princess Peapod he can not only tell the difference between regular and organic milk but also between different organic brands. Yup. Strangely, he’s incredibly good about eating leftovers. In fact he’s even better about it than I am so I don’t usually need to re-invent the previous night’s dinner, but sometimes there’s something delicious that’s just as differently amazing in a tweaked form and that would be arancini cuz how could you make carby savory luscious Dungeness crab risotto better except by rolling it into carby little balls, breading it with panko breadcrumbs, and then frying it a crispy golden brown? Yum. Leftovers never tasted so good. In fact, arancini is soooo delicious that I could see making risotto just so you could have arancini. I’ve made this with risotto straight from the fridge (well, left on the counter to warm for 15 minutes) but if you want a bit more meaty decadence you could add another 4 ounces of crab by nestling a piece the size of your pinky fingertip inside your arancini. While most of us think creole when the word rémoulade comes up, it’s actually French in origin and rather similar to tartar sauce. I’ve tweaked a traditional rémoulade, by adding some tomato paste for a little depth and harissa chili paste for a spicy kick. I’ve omitted the anchovy paste as I didn’t have any but I suspect judicious amounts would also give you a savory brininess.

How to bread your food without looking like you’re ready to take a dip in the oil?
1) I like to use a “dry” hand and “wet” hand approach to breading to keep from breading myself too. By handling the dry parts (flour and panko) with one hand and the wet (egg wash) part with the other hand you can keep the breading where it belongs, on those luscious risotto balls.
2) Secrets to crispety fried anything? Potato starch (片栗粉 katakuriko) is very fine and does not absorb oil as much as flour or corn starch making it perfect for breading. Panko also has more surface area than traditional breadcrumbs making it crunchier by nature, the fact that it also absorbs less oil than traditional breadcrumbs is the icing on the breading 😉 And the most important factor in getting a good fry? Don’t crowd the pan cuz the more things you dump in, the lower the temperature drops the longer your food has to sit in the oil thereby absorbing more of it before it’s cooked.

Harissa Rémoulade
1/4 c aïoli (I was lazy and used Lemonaise)
2 tbsp minced cornichons (~3 cornichons)
2 tsp capers
2 tsp tomato paste
2 tsp harissa (you could also substitute Sriracha if you can’t find harissa)

In a small bowl mix together all ingredients and refrigerate till ready to eat.


Dungeness Crab Arancini
2 c Dungeness crab risotto, cold
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 c potato starch (片栗粉 katakuriko)
1 1/2 c panko breadcrumbs **if cooking gluten-free substitute smashed rice krispies
Canola oil for frying

Wet hands, pinch off ~1 3/4 tbsp of risotto and roll into ping pong-sized balls ~1 1/2-inch diameter. I find that if my hands are wet before I handle the risotto it’s less gummy to handle/doesn’t stick to my hands as much. **If making with additional crab in the center, use ~1 1/2 tbsp risotto, place risotto in the palm of your hand, place crab in the middle of the risotto and pinch risotto around the crab then roll into a ball.

Place potato starch, egg wash, and panko in separate dishes with raised edges. Dry hands well and using your left hand roll a risotto ball into the potato starch until it is completely coated. Shake off any excess potato starch then place ball in egg and roll with right hand to coat in egg. Place egg in panko and roll with dry left hand to coat with breadcrumbs. Repeat with remaining risotto balls. This way you keep one dry hand and one wet hand and don’t end up looking like you’re getting ready to be fried 🙂


Fill a cast iron skillet or heavy pan with enough oil to cover bottom by ~1 inch and heat over med-hi heat till a breadcrumb turns golden-brown in 5 seconds (this is a reasonable approximation of 340-360F which is a good frying temperature). Fry arancini in batches, ~5-6 at a time, to keep from crowding the pan and lowering the temperature. Turn arancini every 1-2 minutes to cook evenly and remove when the crust is golden brown. Blot on a paper towel on a cooling rack or plate and set aside.

Makes ~20 (okay, actually 21 but you on know how yummy deep fried things tend to disappear ….) Serve with a dollop of rémoulade.

**No nutrition estimate cuz I’m not sure how to treat frying.

About Cam

Enjoying the hippie life in Portlandia :)


  1. You’ve got the latent!
    their all the same sized and shaped, i think using a leftover risotto instead regular rice can solve a puffed out and blast aranchini

    • Cam

      Aw [blush], I’m a little OCD so making balls the same size makes me happy lol. Yeah, the arancini really taste like creamy crispy fried little risotto balls. They’re also much starchier than regular rice so they stick well together. I think that regular rice would be bland (unless you put something savory inside like salted salmon like with onigiri) and would need something to bind it together otherwise it would probably fall apart with frying.

  2. But of course! If you make risotto today, you make arancini tomorrow. Well done, Cam. I bet they were delicious!

    • Cam

      I’m not sure. They were devoured too quickly 😉

      I love the fact that the Italians are just as frugal as we Asians, making leftovers like risotto and stale bread into amazing leftovers like arancini, panzanella, and ribollita!

  3. The Arancini look lovely and yummy, thank you for sharing the tips of using potato starch for breading, all this time I always use corn starch. Will switch and follow your recommendation 🙂

    • Cam

      Once I started using potato starch I really did notice that my fried foods were not as greasy although corn starch definitely soaks up less oil than flour. Another nice perk is that for some reason, you need less potato starch cuz it doesn’t soak into what you’re breading as much as corn starch. Please let me know how it works out for you next time and thanks for following my blog. I remember seeing your little shark bento and thinking how happy I would be to eat something so cute (although I do have problems eating cute things, they’re just too cute 🙂

      • Hahaha… yes I will try it soon and let you know on the result 🙂 you have such a soft heart for cute things unlike me whom just devour everything 😀

  4. i LOVE arancini! Love it even more that it has crab in it, yum! Great post Cam.

  5. jalal michael sabbagh.http://gravatar.com./jmsabbagh86@gmail.com

    Great idea.. ,great recipe.Thank you for liking my post ( Our anniversary ) Best regards.jalal

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