Crab Cakes and Riesling

*Disclaimer: I received this bottle of wine from a PR firm that is promoting the pairing of the wine with recipes from Chef Todd Gray.

This bottle of 2006 Wolf Blass Yellow Label Riesling from South Australia arrived on my doorstep last week. It also came with a recipe for crab cakes by Chef Todd Gray. At 12.5% alcohol by volume, closed with a screw-cap, and with a recipe that didn’t actually seem too difficult, I figured I’d give this a try on a weeknight, especially when I saw that hand-picked Maryland Blue Crab was on sale at my grocery this week.

My crabcakes are the ones on the Corelle plate with the broccoli. The PR shot is the fancy one on a green salad. Not too bad if I do say so myself. And as I measure all my cooking adventures, I would say this one was a success as Matt requested seconds! I’ll post the recipe at the end of the post, but overall, it was really easy to make, perhaps a half hour total between prep and cooking, the hardest part was finding the ingredients. I must say I still have NO earthly idea what preserved lemon is, so I just used fresh lemon. And Skipjack spice? I Googled that one and discovered it’s actually another name for an Old Bay type spice. The crab cakes needed a little more cooking time than recommended, I’d say 5 minutes per side and I think perhaps they needed another bonding agent as they fell apart a little as I flipped them. I like the contrast of the salty drawn butter (apparently the fancy chef term is clarified butter in the recipe) on the outside and the sweet Maryland crab on the inside, not to mention the kick that cayenne pepper gave it, even though it was only 1/8 tsp!

On to the wine. Since I already gave the specs, let’s get on with the review. On the nose I get creamy lemon with a bit of an orange undertone. It smelled a bit like a lemon pastry tastes. Limes after I stick my nose in a bit further. Crisp, clean, and refreshing in the mouth. Mostly lemon and lemon zest. A nice little wine for everyday drinking which can be found online for $9.99. Not a bad price for the easy drinking wine. It matched really well with the crab cakes. They were a bit buttery on the outside and the crisp citrus of the wine was an excellent combination. Also great was the cooling nature of the wine next to the kick of the Cayenne in the crab cakes!

Chef Todd Gray’s Lump Crab Cake:
Makes 6 crabcakes


1 lb Jumbo Lump Crabmeat; cleaned of all shells

1/3 cup Fresh Mayonnaise

1 Tbs Whole Grain Mustard

1 Tbs Preserved Lemon, small dice

½ c Brioche Bread; crust removed and small diced

¼ c Chives, minced

1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper

¼ tsp Skipjack Spice

tt Salt & Pepper

1 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil

¼ c Clarified Butter


In a large stainless mixing bowl, combine all ingredients (except for clarified butter); mix well but be careful not to break up lumps of crab. Form mix into six 3-ounce cakes. Heat a large sauté pan to medium temperature; add a clarified butter and brown cakes on both sides (approx. 3 minutes per side).

Serve cakes warm with your favorite green salad.

FYI for you DC area folks: Chef Todd Gray is the head chef at Equinox in downtown DC.