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Sep 18, 2012
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Wine With...Crab and Corn Cakes

The only real trick to this recipe is allowing enough time—at least a couple of hours--for the patties to firm up in the refrigerator before attempting to cook them. If you don’t give them this resting time you are more apt to end up with crab & corn hash—which actually is delicious (we tried it), especially when topped with a fried or poached egg! But if cakes are the goal, be sure to let them firm up in the fridge before pan-frying.

2 eggs
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 pound crab meat
2 cups corn kernels (2-3 ears)
1/2 cup bread crumbs, preferably panko
about 1 cup flour, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed

Whisk together the eggs, mayonnaise, mustard and cayenne. Pick through the crabmeat and discard any cartilage or pieces of shell, then stir the crab into the egg mixture along with the corn and breadcrumbs. Spread the flour out on a board or plate; then form the corn mixture into patties, coating each side of the patties with a dusting of flour. The mixture will be very messy and hard to work with, but shape them as best as possible. Place each one as you go along on a baking sheet. Refrigerate them for at least two and up to six hours.

To cook, place the oil in a sturdy skillet and heat until a corn kernel dropped into the pan sizzles. Working in batches, carefully maneuver the cakes into the skillet (we found that working with a couple of spatulas is the best way to do this). Brown them on both sides, which should take five to eight minutes.

Makes about six cakes. Serve garnished with lemon, tartar sauce or aioli.

* * *

More delicately flavored that regular crab cakes, this is clearly a white wine dish. Yet finding the right white can be a bit tricky. Too light, and the wine will get lost in the match. Too heavy (especially if the wine’s full body comes primarily from oak aging), and you’ll lose the fresh, sweet flavors of both corn and crab. We found that the best wines with these cakes were those with a notably bright and youthful profile. They tended to marry well with the equally bright flavors in the dish, and a touch of sweetness from residual sugar didn’t hurt either.


Selection

Approx. Price

Comments

Tenuta Guado al Tasso, Bolheri (Italy), Vermentino 2010

(Imported by Ste Michelle Wine Estates)

$25

Very citrusy, with echoes of lemon peel extending from the bouquet through the finish, this is also a somewhat steely, mineral-rich wine. It provided a refreshing contrast to the corn and crab cakes.

Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County (California) Sauvignon Blanc 2011

$20

One of the better California Sauvignon Blancs we have tasted this year, Matanzas Creek’s rendition emphasizes the combination of citrus and herbal flavors that make this varietal such a good choice for warm weather drinking. It’s richer in texture and body than many comparably flavored wines, so has enough heft not to be overwhelmed by food, and was a clear winner with this dish..

.

Mohua, Central Otago (New Zealand) Pinot Gris 2009

(Imported by Vineyard Brands)

$17

The sweetness in this wine is what made it sing alongside our crab and corn cakes. By no means overtly sweet, the wine does exhibit enticing baked apple or pear flavors, echoing the inherent sweetness in the dish..

Raymond, Napa Valley (California) Chardonnay 2010

$20

A genuinely restrained California Chardonnay, with oak playing a supporting role and the fruit taking center stage, this wine starred alongside our cakes. It had just the right weight to hold its own in the pairing without ever becoming over bearing. Kudos to Raymond for actually doing what so many Golden State producers claim but few achieve—make a balanced and harmonious because not oak-driven Chardonnay.

Villa Maria, Marlborough (New Zealand) Sauvignon Blanc “Cellar Selection” 2011

(Imported by Ste Michelle Wine Estates)

$20

Citrus (notably grapefruit) flavors, enhanced by grassy hints of fresh herbs, dominate in this wine, one that like so many Kiwi Sauvignons excites because it tastes to fresh and lively.