Asparagus, Crab and Pepper Timbale with Toasted Spiced Pepitas

October  4, 2022
3 Ratings
  • Makes 6 timbales
Author Notes

This recipe incorporates asparagus as a major component and but is definitely not all about asparagus as it shares the stage with a crab and shrimp mixture and sauteed peppers and onions. This is a great brunch, starter or lunch dish on lightly dressed baby greens, as the peppers and crab mixture can all be done well ahead for entertaining, as it all gets warmed up in the timbale anyway when you roast the asparagus. For brunch, I top this with a poached or fried egg, and include a picture of it but it tends to hide the beautiful asparagus top and so didn't use it as the main picture. There's a little spice here, but not much (unless you choose to pump it up a bit), and it gets balanced with cilantro and lime juice. I chose to place them on fried corn tortillas since I made these for dinner last night and we wanted something a little heftier. Note: for the timbale, I used metal rings about 3" high. —TheWimpyVegetarian

What You'll Need
  • olive oil for sauteeing
  • 1/2 poblano pepper, small diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, small diced
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, small diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 onion, small diced
  • 1 tomatillo, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 serrano pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 pound crabmeat
  • 1/2 pound rock shrimp or medium shrimp chopped into 1/2" pices
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup Cojita cheese, crumbled (feta cheese can be substituted)
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 splashes Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 asparagus spears, cut into 1/2" segments, cutting large tips in half
  • olive oil and lime juice for coating asparagus
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice powders (chipolte pepper, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, cinnamon)
  • 6 corn tortillas and oil to fry them in (optional)
  1. Heat a little olive oil in a saute pan and saute all the peppers and onions together until soft, adding the garlic in the last couple minutes of sauteing.
  2. Place in a bowl to cool. Add the cilantro, citrus juices and salt and pepper to taste. (This step can be done the day ahead, and chilled. If you do this, warm this mixture in the microwave or in a saute pan before filling the timbales.)
  3. Saute the shrimp in a little olive oil until just cooked (about 2 minutes). Add the red pepper flakes at the end and finish by tossing the shrimp in the flakes over heat for about 1 minutes. Empty into a bowl and set aside to cool.
  4. In another bowl, combine the crabmeat, cheese, shrimp, and the remaining ingredients for the crab mixture. Set aside. (This step can be done the day ahead and refrigerated until needed. Bring back to room temp before filling the timbales.)
  5. Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the 6 metal rings on a baking sheet.
  6. Spoon enough pepper mixture to fill each ring 1/3rd. Press down to even the layer and create a solid foundation for the crab mixture.
  7. Spoon enough crab mixture to fill each ring another 1/3rd, pressing down to create a solid, even foundation for the asparagus.
  8. Toss the asparagus slices in olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper and fill the final 1/3rd of each metal ring. Bake until the asparagus is just turning tender (about 10-12 minutes). It will still have a little crispness to it.
  9. While the timbales are in the oven, heat 1" vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry the tortillas, turning them carefully with tongs (about 20-30 seconds total).
  10. Toss the pumpkin seeds in a little olive oil and spices and saute until lightly toasted (about 5 minutes).
  11. When the timbales come out of the oven, let cool for a couple minutes on the baking sheet. Place a fried tortilla on each plate, placing the timbale with the metal ring around it on top of the corn tortilla and remove the ring. Sprinkle pepitas on top.
  12. If desired, place a poached egg on top of the asparagus/pepita layer and serve warm.
  13. Open the champagne and pour into fluted glasses.
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  • Lizthechef
  • TheWimpyVegetarian

3 Reviews

Lizthechef April 9, 2010
Thanks for all the help. It's on the menu for next weekend when I have visited the local markets and am ready for yet more asparagus;)
Lizthechef April 9, 2010
Wow! This is one exciting recipe. I will have to cut back on the pepper combo for family, but this is so tempting.
TheWimpyVegetarian April 9, 2010
Thanks so much Liz!! I'm rushing around trying to finish packing to get to the airport, but wanted to respond in case you want to try it this weekend. The peppers can easily be cut back and adjusted. There's very little heat except the serrano thanks to the saute process and the addition of the lime and lemon juice. You can also add some orange juice to further mute it. You want a citrusy flavor added that combines well with the crab mix. Since it's an independent layer, you can design it to your wishes. We had the leftovers for breakfast/brunch this morning on top of a salad that I dressed lightly with a citrus based dressing, topped with an egg.