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Columbia Restaurant's Ybor City Deviled Crab Rolls

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Rating: 4/5
4 reviews

ready in: over 5 hrs
serves/makes:   12

recipe id: 105
cook method: deep fryer

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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

Crab Meat 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 hot red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 can (6 ounce size) tomato paste
1 pound fresh claw crab meat, 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


About 4 hours before serving, make dough: Break white bread into pieces; place in a large bowl, cover with water, soak 15 minutes. Drain water and squeeze soaked bread until almost dry; return to bowl.

Gradually add sifted Cuban bread until mixture reaches dough consistency. Add paprika and salt, mix thoroughly. Form dough into ball, refrigerate about 2 hours.

For Filling: Heat olive oil in large skillet, heat to low. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic and hot pepper, saute very slowly 15 minutes. Add bay leaves, sugar, salt and tomato paste; 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 3 Tbsp bread dough, press, add 1 Tbsp crab filling, 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.

Recipe Source: the Columbia Restaurant, Tampa, Florida.

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599 calories, 13 grams fat, 94 grams carbohydrates, 25 grams protein per serving.
Show full nutritional data (including Weight Watcher's Points ®, cholesterol, sodium, vitamins, and diabetic exchanges)

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comments & reviews

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Guest at

REVIEW: 5 star recipe rating
Very nice but takes forever and quite expensive?

Guest at

REVIEW: 5 star recipe rating
Tried is not a quick dish but well worth the time. Taste just like the ones i loved as a kid growing up in Tampa Fla. Thanks for sharing, Popeye from Ga.

Guest at

REVIEW: 5 star recipe rating
i to live in tampa and have ate alot of deviled crab rolls and i thank it taste just the way they make it. it is fantastic, thanks

Guest at


I looked at the Columbia restaurant menu and their croquettes (chicken) use cuban cracker crumbs. One brand of Cuban crackers is Rika, maybe that would be the answer to the cracker comments.

Guest at


I grew up in the Tampa area and have very fond memories of deviled crabs. This recipe comes close, but does not capture the authentic taste. It needs to be more specific on the type of crackers, how big the onions should be, and when to actually add the crabmeat. I spent quite a bit of time and money on this dish and was somewhat disappointed with the results. I imagine that it could be tweaked but don't have the time or money to try again.

Guest at

REVIEW: 2 star recipe rating
I did not care for this recipe. 7 hours in the kitchen from beginning to finish. I was raised on devil crabs living in Tampa so I have a good idea of what they should taste like. ;)
The filling is very bland. I think a little more sugar & some cayenne pepper.
I tried the cracker crumbs for dipping as well as bread crumbs. Neither had the the texture of commercial devil crabs. Since there are hundreds of different type of crackers, wish they would have specified.
It can be ok with a little tweeking, but the cracker coating needs to be determined.

Please note:
This is a copy cat recipe submitted to CDKitchen by a third-party. This recipe is not an original recipe unless specifically stated and is considered only to be an acceptable "clone" to the original for the home cook to attempt to duplicate. Please also note that many nationwide restaurant chains vary their menus and ingredients by region so the version provided may not be similar to what you may have tried before. All trademarks referenced are property of their respective owners.

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