Spicy Seafood & Risotto Cake (w/ wine pairings)

Risotto Crab Cake with Spicy Seafood Broth

So the other day I received a request for a crab cake recipe… the problem with that is there are thousands of them already on the internet. What could I do that would make it interesting? Well, one thing I cook moderately often are risotto cakes, so why not incorporate the crabmeat into that!? Sure, it’s been done before, but at least it’s a twist. Check out the recipe and pairings, and let me know what you think…

Serves 4

Ingredients (risotto cake):
2tbsp Unsalted Butter
1/2c Arborio Rice
2c Warmed Chicken Stock
2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 Jalapeno, seeded and diced
1/3tsp Salt (for veg)
1/2tsp Ground Black Pepper
8oz Crabmeat
1c Panko, unseasoned
2tbsp Olive Oil

Ingredients (seafood broth):
14oz Canned Pureed Tomato
2c White Wine
1c Chicken Stock
1tbsp Unsalted Butter
3 Clove Garlic, chopped
1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
1/3tsp Salt (for veg)
1/2tsp Salt (for broth)
1/2tsp Ground Black Pepper
1tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1/2tsp Garlic Powder
1tsp Chili Powder
1tbsp Sriracha
1/2lb Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2lb Bay Scallopes
1/2lb Calamari, sliced into rings
2doz Little Neck Clams
Fresh Parsley for garnish

The risotto needs to be made in advance as it needs to be cold to mold into the cake.

In a sauce pot warm your 2 cups of chicken stock, bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low.

In a medium sauce pot on medium-high heat melt your butter. Add the garlic, bell pepper, jalapeno and salt. Cook until the vegetables start to sweat then add your risotto and black pepper, cook for 2 minutes, stirring regularly. Reduce your heat to medium, add a half of a cup of warm chicken stock and stir regularly. Once the rice is almost dry, add another half of a cup. Continue to do this, stirring regularly until the rice is finished, approximately 30 minutes. The rice should still be slightly al dente, but have a creamy texture (not loose). Remove from heat and stir in the crabmeat. Cool in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

After the risotto has cooled, form into four equal balls. Put the panko in a bowl and one at a time put each risotto ball in the panko, coating evenly. Place on a flat surface and press the top down lightly to slightly flatten and form a cake shape. Put your cakes in the fridge to set.

In a large sauce pot melt your butter at medium-high heat. Add your garlic and red bell pepper, sprinkle with 1/3tsp of salt and cook until they start to sweat. Add the white wine, chicken stock and tomato puree. Increase your heat to high and bring to a boil for three minutes, stirring periodically, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring periodically. After 30 minutes remove from the heat, then using a food processor, blender or hand emulsifier, liquefy the sauce. Put the sauce back in the pot, add your fresh clams and seasoning, cover and simmer at low heat, stirring periodically.

Heat your oven to 375F.

Take your set risotto cakes from the fridge. In a large sauté pan heat the olive oil at medium-high. Place the crab cakes in the hot oil and sear until the bottom is lightly browned, flip and repeat. Once both sides are browned put your crab cakes in the oven and cook an additional 10 minutes.

Once you’ve put the crab cakes in the oven, add the shrimp, scallops and calamari to the sauce, continue to simmer uncovered on low, stirring periodically. After 10 minutes the seafood broth and the crab cakes should both be done.

To plate, use a ladle to put a pool of broth in the bottom of your bowls. Set your crab cake in the broth and top with the shrimp, scallops and calamari, place your clams alongside, then top with fresh parsley. That’s it, your done… time to eat!

So let’s talk wine pairings. I personally prefer to pair a white, specifically something with salinity, citrus and a bit of body… think aged Muscadet, 1’er Cru Chablis, Bordeaux blancs from Entres-Deux-Mers, fuller bodied Albarinos, coastal Chilean Sauvignon Blancs, California Sauvignon Blancs with some barrel aging… you get the picture. So below are my three picks, including what I drank that night.

Château Sainte Marie Entre-Deux-Mers Vieilles Vignes, Bordeaux, France – Sainte Marie was established by Gilles Dupuch in 1956, but it was always a hobby for the family as Gilles’ primary vocation was his insurance brokerage. However, in 1997 Gilles’ son Stephane took over and was able to focus all of his time, energy and passion on making the family wine, transforming the vineyards and drastically improving the final product. Their blanc is a blend of predominantly Sauvignon Blanc, as well as a fair amount of a Semillon and a small dose of Muscadelle. The Sauvignon gives the wine it’s crisp acidic characteristics as well as hints of salinity, the Semillon gives the wine depth and mouthfeel, while the Muscadelle supplies softer florals and complexity. On the palate up front you’ll find very pronounced citrus notes and subtle salinity, as well as razor sharp acidity. Mid palate is where you’ll start to find the full roundness of the Semillon that leads you to a moderately soft finish with subdued minerality and delicate nuances of white peach and crushed flowers. With over 8,300 cases made on an average vintage the wine should be readily available in most major markets. (Retail $13-17)

La Val Albarino, Rias Baixas, Spain – Bodegas La Val was one of the first wineries established in Rias Baixas back in the mid-80’s, and in my humble opinion they’ve been the standard bearer of the appellation since inception. Their 150 acres of vineyard are located in the Condado do Tea sub-region of the D.O. While most wineries in the region are planted on flat plains with full days of direct sunlight, La Val’s vineyards are located in a series of shallow valleys, giving some relief from both hot summer temperatures as well as continuous sunlight. The end result is a much more balanced and complex wine. So many Albarinos from the region are very floral, light and even sometimes moderately sweet… or as I think of them, uninteresting. La Val, however, is denser on the palate and while it still has some of the tell-tale Albarino floral characteristics, you’ll also find notes of citrus zest and crushed rock. Hands down, this is the best Albarino I’ve ever had from Rias Baixas. (Retail $12-15)

Sean Minor Four Bears Sauvignon Blanc, California – I’ve written about Sean Minor before, and trust me this is a name you’ll see repeatedly on this website. Not only do I love Sean’s wines, finding them to be some of the best values out of California, I also genuinely like him as a person. Both he and his lovely wife Nicole have one goal, and that is to create wines that go well beyond over delivering for the price. His Sauvignon Blanc is blended from parcels in Dry Creek, Lake County and the Central Coast. It is aged primarily in stainless, but to add a twist a small portion of the wine is aged on lees in neutral French barrel with periodic batonage, giving the wine great texture and a round mouthfeel. Up front you’ll find notes of lemon and grapefruit zest, along with moderate acidity, leading into a relatively full bodied mid palate and finish with hints of kiwi, slate and smoke. Sean flew under the radar for the first few years, but at this point he can be found in every US market, so you’ll have no difficulty getting your hands on this wine… Unless the store is sold out, which isn’t an uncommon occurrence! (Retail $12-15)

So there’s a crab cake recipe, as requested, and the wines I think would pair well. I hope you enjoyed the read, and more importantly I hope you make the dish and drink the wines! More content coming soon, but in the meantime crack open a bottle of something crisp and clean to celebrate the arrival of Spring, sit back, and relax. Life is short, enjoy it!


Published by Derek Martin

Husband, dad, home cook, wine snob... lover of bacon. I have spent my entire adult life surrounded by fine food and fine wines, starting with fifteen years working at, or running, some of New Jersey's top restaurants, and now the last two years working for one of the top fine wine distributors in the United States. I have absorbed a ton of information on food, wine, pairings and techniques during those seventeen years, and I'd love to share what I've learned with you!

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