Yesterday, when I mentioned to the Mrs. that I was going to make crab cakes for dinner, the first words out of her mouth were “Make them like my Mom makes them! They’re the BEST!!!”
It’s probably worth pointing out that the main 2 tricks behind how “Mom makes them” is to use zero bread filling, and to shape them roughly the size of baseballs. Delicious, no doubt; but if she were the chef in a restaurant, either she would have to charge $50 an entrée (due to the lack of filler) for her delicious crab cakes, or she would bankrupt the place within a week!
Since Mom was out of town on vacation, and I didn’t feel like calling her purely to get my hands on her “top secret” crab cake recipe, I found this recipe for Spicy Crab Cakes with Mango Puree to be a good compromise.
My wine of choice, leftover from my last wine review, was the Willamette Valley Vineyards Riesling. As the back-label on the wine indicates, the WVV Riesling, yields a medium level of sweetness, and also shows pineapple, peach sorbet, ripe Granny Smith apple, Honey Dew melon, sherbet, and light minerality.
Since the wine bears only a moderate level of sweetness, it’s a perfect match for the delicate sweetness of the crab, but also the more obvious sweetness of the mango puree. It also only shows 10% alcohol, which is a good thing as I went a little overboard with the Asian red chili sauce in the crab cakes, and an alcohol level too much higer would have made my head explode from the heat!
This was about as perfect as pairings get. Seriously, if you haven’t made one of the recipes from these pairings before, this is a GREAT one to start with. Very simple, an easy clean-up, with the only drawback being the expense of the crabmeat. It’s almost as if the wine was MADE for this meal! I would challenge anyone to do better!
I’ll rate this as a:
Recipe for Spicy Crab Cakes with Mango Puree
1 pound lump crabmeat, drained.
3 teaspoons lime juice
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons minced chives
3 teaspoons Asian red chili sauce (but mainly based on your preferred level of heat)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
All purpose flour, for dredging
3 large eggs, beaten
2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1. In a bowl, mix the crabmeat with the mayonnaise, chives, lime juice, honey and 2 tablespoon of the chili sauce until everything is broken up. Season. Form the mix into as many crab cakes as you wish, based on your preferred size, squeezing firmly (can get a little messy). Place the crab cakes on a baking sheet and refrigerate for around 30 minutes.
2. Whilst the crab cakes are doing their thing in the fridge, in a blender, puree the mango with 1 tablespoon of the oil and the remaining 1 teaspoon of chili sauce until smooth. Season with S&P.
3. Throw a cup of flour into a medium bowl. Put the eggs in another shallow bowl and the panko in a third bowl (line it up like a production line). Coat one of the crab cakes with flour, shaking off the excess. Dip the crab cake in the egg mix and then coat it well with the panko. Repeat with the all the rest of the crab cakes.
4. In a medium skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add as many of the crab cakes as you feel comfortable cooking at one time to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until they’re browned and crisp, about 4 minutes per side. Drain the crab cakes on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining crab cakes.
5. Serve on top of a bed of lettuce with ginger dressing, with the mango puree lightly topping the crab cakes.