To create a delicious and memorable experience at your vacation gathering, seek some inspiration from vintners and cooks from one of the world’s most impressive wine and food destinations, the Napa Valley.
One of the iconic wine-making families from the Valley, Cakebreads, shares their recommendations.
When it comes to red wines, the fresh and fragrant aromas of red and black cherries, raspberries and spiced tea leaves found in the 2015 Pinot Noir “Two Creeks” (SRP $44) make an elegant accompaniment to your meal. This cool climate Pinot Noir complements hearty seared tuna, roast turkey, pork tenderloin and root vegetables.
For your white wine, consider the bright creamy notes of green and gold apples, pears, and oranges with a backing of the oak spices found in the 2015 Napa Valley Chardonnay (SRP $40), which blends superbly with chicken, clams, seafood and grilled salads.
Both wines are produced at Cakebread Cellars, a family owned winery since 1973, committed to craftsmanship. Their premier culinary program makes cooking and wine pairing easy. Take a cue from their playbook by enjoying a Chardonnay selection with their recipe for Harissa Spiked Roast Crab with Spicy Red Pepper Sauce.
• 3 large Dungeness crabs, cooked, cleaned and cracked
• 3 tablespoons of olive oil
• 1 1/2 tablespoons Whole Spice harissa spice mix (a mix of dried chilies, cumin, coriander and garlic)
• 3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
• 2 tablespoons of orange juice
• 1 tablespoon of lime juice
• 2 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped
• 1 cup mayonnaise
• 1/3 cup roasted red peppers
• 1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce
• Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
• Place crabs in the bottom of a large casserole dish, large enough for all the crabs to slot in an even layer.
• Break all leg shells. The body should be broken up into about six smaller pieces, so that the marinade can seep into the meat.
• To make the marinade, in a small bowl, combine the olive oil, harissa spice mix, crushed garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon lime juice and stir.
• Pour the marinade over the crabs and stir with your hands so they’re evenly coated. Make sure they’re well coated.
• Place in the center of the preheated oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Flip once or twice, so that the crabs are cooked evenly.
• While the crabs are roasting, place the mayonnaise, red pepper, hot sauce, 1 tablespoon orange juice and 1 teaspoon lime juice in the blender jar. Puree until smooth.
To serve, place the casserole in the center of the table for guests to help themselves, and supply bowls of red pepper sauce. Serve with lots of napkins.