Deviled Crab and Viognier
By Eric Aebi, Program Co-Chair, Hospitality and Tourism Management
Dungeness Crab season started on January 4th and fresh crabs are now appearing in markets throughout the Willamette Valley. As crab exports have grown over the decades, the season seems to start later every year. As a kid, my family ate crab Louie salads on Christmas Eve and in recent years, it has become a New Year’s Eve meal. Unfortunately, this year we missed out on that meal due to the late start of crab season. Oh well, any day is a good day to eat fresh Dungeness, especially when paired with Chemeketa Cellars wines. Fresh cracked crab with drawn butter or crab Louie salads are common preparations and both would pair well with the Chemeketa Cellars 2016 Viognier, a medium-bodied white that can hold up to melted butter and creamy salad dressings. To shake things up a little, I went to the James Beard Foundation website to find a warm crab dish. James spent much of his time in Gearhart, Oregon, where the winter coastal weather would have made the idea of a warm meal very attractive. The 2016 Viognier would pair perfectly with this dish alongside a steamed artichoke, also now coming into season. The aromas of lemon, brown butter and white pepper and the off-dry, medium body finish match the weight and flavors of both the deviled crab and the artichoke. Enjoy!
“I have maintained all my life that this is the best cooked crab I have ever known.” - James Beard
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 medium onion, finely diced
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fish stock, chicken broth, or clam broth
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 pound crab meat
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter and sauté the onions until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and whisk until it is completely absorbed and lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the dry mustard, cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Stir in the stock in small increments, mixing well between additions to prevent clumping. Bring the mixture to a simmer and continue stirring until thickened, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat.
In a medium bowl, temper the egg yolks by adding small spoonfuls of the sauce while continuously stirring. Continue to do so until all of the sauce has been mixed in. Fold in the crab meat and parsley.
Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a small pan and add the breadcrumbs, stirring until lightly toasted. Spoon the crab mixture into individual baking dishes or one large baking dish and top with the toasted breadcrumbs. Bake until the crab mixture is warmed through and the breadcrumbs are golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Serve immediately.
Source: https://www.jamesbeard.org/recipes/deviled-crab (James Beard Foundation)
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