Wednesday, March 12, 2008
I love crab cakes, but all to often the restaurant version is more bread than crab. Mine started with a recipe from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything," but I make enough changes that I don't think even he would recognize it. Well, he'd recognize the recipe, but probably not the cakes themselves. His recipe called for bell pepper and curry powder; I used fresh Poblano (I prefer Anaheim, but Fairway didn't have any) and ancho chili powder. Both of the chilies are mild, adding flavor without heat. I use just enough bread crumbs to keep them together. Actually, they generally lose a few bits on the edges. Then they get dredged in a little flour to make them crisp on the outside.
The rich, buttery flavors of the crab lend themselves perfectly to the flavors of white Burgundy. White Burgundy is (with one very small exception) 100% Chardonnay. Grown in the cooler climate of eastern France, Chardonnay has a drier, more apple and pear flavor than most California Chardonnay. Not wanting to pay the high price of the more northern Burgundy appellations for a Tuesday night supper, I chose an organic Macon Blanc from Domaine St. Barbe. Even my wife, no great Chardonnay fan, was happy with the choice. Not oaky, but plenty buttery, it was exactly what I wanted. It still had a shot of acidity at the end to wash down the fried crab. If I have to say so myself, and I do since I'm the one writing this, it was a very good meal from both the food and wine perspectives.