Pesto Stuffed Crab Balls
Yield:   About 45-55 crab balls
Cook Time:  About 5 minutes for sautéing onions and pepper, and 1-2 minutes per batch for frying crab balls.
Tips:   Crab balls may be formed in advance, stored in the refrigerator and cooked later when ready to serve. Crab cakes may also be prepared and cooked in advance and stored in refrigerator or freezer, then reheated in a 400° oven for about 10 minutes or until heated through and sizzling. (Place reheated crab balls on some paper towels to allow any oils from deep-frying to drain.)
Suggestion:   Delicious as appetizers or an anytime snack.

Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor and process to a coarse paste. Through the top opening of the food processor, add the olive oil while continuing to process. Add more olive oil (1 tablespoon at a time) if a thinner consistency is desired.

Crab Balls

Sauté onion and bell pepper in 1/4 cup of oil over medium heat until soft but not browned. Remove from heat.

In a large mixing bowl, combine sautéed onions and peppers, risotto, panko, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, parsley, mayonnaise and salt. Gently fold in crab just until blended.

Place panko crumbs in a shallow bowl near a work area. Scoop 1 tablespoon of mixture and form into a ball by gently squeezing (rolling in your palms is not recommended because it will likely cause the mixture to break up). Flatten ball to about a 2-inch in diameter disk shape. Place 1/2 teaspoon of pesto in center of the disk, then carefully fold up disk around pesto, gently squeezing and forming into a ball. (Tip: Squeeze gaps together with fingers to close, and press any oozing pesto back inside ball as needed.) Roll ball in panko to evenly coat and transfer to a tray or plate and place near deep fryer (or stove top if you will be cooking them in a saucepan). Repeat this process until entire mixture has been used up.

Heat to 375° enough oil in a deep fryer or saucepan to cover crab balls (oil level should be at least 3/4-inch higher than tops of balls to allow balls to move around while cooking). Cook crab balls in batches following this method: Gently lower a few crab balls into hot oil and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes, or until balls appear golden and crispy. (Note: Only cook as many crab balls that will comfortably fit in deep fryer or saucepan, allowing some room for them to move while cooking.) Using a slotted spoon or other slotted utensil, carefully remove cooked crab balls and place on some stacked paper towels arranged on a plate or tray. Continue cooking crab balls in batches.

Serve immediately. (Alternatively, crab balls can be prepared and/or cooked in advance and served later. See "Tips" or recipe description above for details.)