I love lobster, but I lust after crab. There may be no more rewarding or decadent delicacy anywhere in the world of food, for all it’s rich and opulent texture and sweet, mild and satisfying flavour, crab is one of the world’s great culinary vehicles. I choose this description carefully, as crab lends itself to be both treatment and process, and delivers an incredible variety of eating experiences depending on how it has been handled. And speaking of handling, breaking down the crab and doing the hard work involved in enjoying this incredible bounty it part of its pleasure. Television personality and famous American Chef Anthony Bourdain summed up this beautifully…

“When people started demanding boneless stuff like chicken without a bone, or crab meat without actual crab, or lazy lobster. That was the beginning of the erosion of our society as we know it. If you’re not willing to work for a pay-off like this, how do you expect to fight Al Qaeda. If you can’t suck the meat out of a crab. It’s a character builder. And delicious.”

How can you argue with that? Crab… it ain’t just tasty; it’s a character building experience too!! So from pasta to stir-fry and crab-cakes to deep-fried soft shell gorgeousness, here’s my list of 4 stunning crab recipes you should find occasion to eat just as soon as you can – and of course, a collection of perfect wine matches to make these crab recipes hit the high notes!

1. Soft Shell Crab: 3 Methods, 4 Coatings & 5 Sauces  RECIPE

Wine Match: Champagne or other dry sparkling wine

2. Stunning Meaty Baltimore-Style Crab Cakes RECIPE

Wine Match: Rich Barrel-Aged White Burgundy

3. Spaghettti w/ Crab Meat & Lemon Gremolata RECIPE

Wine Match: Fume Blanc, Chablis or Albarino

4. Spicy Crab Stir-Fry w/ Garlic-Chili Glass Noodles  RECIPE

Wine Match: Off-Dry Gewuztraminer or Chenin Blanc

When served steamed with only a bit of drawn butter, crab behaves much like lobster – and loves the same sort of wines, like rich barrel-aged white Burgundies (think Meursault and Montrachet), or Viognier or even Godello from Spain. As you introduce some citrus into the mix, like a bit of lemon peel in your pasta or crab cakes, suddenly this opens to the door to bright and refreshing whites like Albarino, unoaked Chardonnay or even barrel aged Sauvignon Blanc from California or Bordeaux.

Crab is also an awesome protein to serve with a little spice, and if you’re looking at Thai inspired flavours, my mind immediately goes to pairing these crab recipes with slightly off-dry aromatic whites like Gewurztraminer, Chenin Blanc or even Riesling. A touch of sweetness will help cut through the spice, while these varieties deliver enough aromatic intensity and flavour punch to stand up to bold flavours like garlic, ginger and sesame.