Fresh Gulf blue crabmeat, with its sweet, faintly marine taste, is a local treasure. This starter accents the rich, savory crab with tart and mildly spicy nuances. The key to pairing this dish is to pay attention to the tropical fruit and choose a wine with tropical sparkle, moderate alcohol and crisp acidity. We suggest Kiepersol Estate Vit, a pleasing slightly sweet blend of Semillon and aromatic grape varieties from their estate vineyards in Tyler. The wine brings essences of citrus blossoms, lemon zest and baked almond cookies. The sunny tropical characteristics of this wine complement the mango and pineapple in this recipe while the hint of residual sugar in the wine off sets the heat of the serrano chilies.
1 large mango, peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice
2 serrano chilies, seeds and veins removed, minced
⅓ cup ¼-inch-diced red onion
½ cup ¼-inch-diced roasted red bell pepper
⅔ cup ¼-inch-diced fresh pineapple
2 heaping tablespoon finely
2 tablespoons Texas extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon medium-hot chili powder
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt, to taste
Juice of 1 large lime
1 pound Gulf jumbo lump crabmeat, chilled
Shredded romaine lettuce
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced into 8 wedges
Good quality corn tortilla chips
To make the pico de gallo, combine the mango, serrano chilies, red onion, roasted red bell pepper and pineapple in a medium bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cilantro, olive oil, chili powder, cumin, salt and lime juice and blend well. Pour the dressing over the mango mix and toss to moisten well. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Meanwhile, carefully pick through the crabmeat to remove any bits of shell or cartilage (take care not to break up the beautiful lumps). Line a large platter with shredded lettuce. Mound the crabmeat in the center of the platter and arrange the avocado wedges and corn chips around the mound. Spoon the pico de gallo over and around the crabmeat. Add a large spoon or fork for self-serve.
TERRY THOMPSON-ANDERSON is a professional chef, cookbook author, culinary instructor and restaurant consultant. She has written five cookbooks and numerous articles for various publications. She is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, The Southern Foodways Alliance and Les Dames d’Escoffier, International.