Dungeness crab is on sale at our local grocery store this week, so we splurged on four large crabs for dinner Sunday night. I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to crab; I like it with a little melted butter or plain, no cocktail sauce. We kept the meal simple, with just some crusty French bread, a light butter/herb pasta and a green salad. The crab was the star of the show, so I scoured the Internet to find a wine that would pair well with it.
My dear Facebook readers unanimously suggested pinot gris, which surprised me. I assumed that chardonnay would be the obvious choice. And a lot of the reviews I read online suggested riesling and told me to save the chardonnay for lobster. So I chilled a California riesling from Mirassou. Ordinarily this wine would not be my first choice with such a delicate main course like cracked crab, but I took a leap of faith and was thrilled with the result. The crab turned the inherent sweetness of the wine into a soft fruit salad with a velvety finish. And in turn, the wine’s acidity brought out the natural sweetness of the crab.
Mirassou riseling is full of smooth fruits like apple and pear, and perhaps just a touch of melon. The wine also enhanced the butter/herb pasta, but didn’t do much for the green salad. I could have lost myself in a bowl of crab and a bottle of wine, but I’m trying to not get carried away. (if you don’t hear from me by this weekend, send a search party to the seafood aisle where I’ll be camped out with a case of Mirassou riesling and a bucket of crab. And the wine can be easily found for under $10 at most grocery stores, so this is a very real possibility for me!
My husband and I learned that six pounds of crab is maybe just a smidge too much for two of us (the kids didn’t like it), so tonight we made the leftovers into crab cakes. (I should clarify: six pounds total, with shells, not six pounds of meat.) I followed Tyler Florence’s recipe for crab cakes, adding just a touch of Old Bay seasoning. I wanted a fairly stripped-down recipe that would highlight the crab and not mask it with a bunch of superfluous ingredients.
I kept the sides simple: homemade macaroni-and-cheese, and steamed broccoli. The riesling went really well with the leftovers, which is the sign of a keeper in my house!
I’m looking forward to the next time crab goes on sale so I can try another varietal to pair with it. Riesling was a fantastic choice, but I’d like to try a pinot gris, or maybe my new favorite white varietal, semillon. Mirassou makes a fanastic riesling, and I’ll be stocking my wine rack with it, maybe next time serving it with a heartier seafood dish or plate of brussel sprouts sauteed in butter and garlic.