“Being from the North, crab evokes childhood memories of weekend day trips to Maryland just to eat crab. At Baltimore's Inner Harbor, there were newspapers and rolls of paper towels topped with a lifetime of whole crabs to eat. I especially enjoyed the claw meat, deeming it sweeter and harder to get to than body meat,” he recalls. “As you read menus across the country you will see “Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes.” And while they have the bulk and body, they also have a slightly dull taste.” Marini compares crabs to chicken in that its wings and thighs (the dark meat) are more flavorful due to the amount of exercise they receive in the yard.
Marini's crab mixture also includes a small amount of house made mayonnaise, chopped flat leaf parsley, finely minced shallots. And the cakes are sautéed and finished in the oven. “With Alabama having some great tomatoes, I use various sizes of yellow and red drop tomatoes from a nearby farm. And I fry some green tomatoes, which blend well with the crushed basil and black caper vinaigrette that garnish the plate.”
To compliment the cakes, Marini sought the wine advice of Jim Smith, Local's “wine geek” and Carolyn Vizzina of Pinnacle Imports. Domaine des Cassagnoles Gascogne Blanc 2005 is a blend of 40 percent Colombard, 35 percent Ugni Blanc, and 25 percent Gros Manseng. It is a crisp and refreshing white that matches well with lighter fare. “Its midrange alcohol content of 12.5 percent is a balance for the dense crab without adding a biting crispness,” Marini describes. Baumann's Cassagnoles is a consistent Medaille D'Or winner in Eauze, the local Gascogne competition. And paired with Local's crab cakes, they are both winners.
magazine October 2006