Chef Roger's Crab Cakes

Balletto Vineyards

5700 Occidental Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95401

These delicious crab cakes embody the taste of Bodega Bay and all that Sonoma County has to offer. Fresh crabmeat with delicate spices and breading create a memorable tasting experience when paired with Balletto Vineyards Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. This is one of Chef Roger Praplan's signature appetizers. His creative approach uses the freshest crabmeat and finest locally sourced ingredients.


  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
To prepare the aioli, in a food processor, combine the egg yolk, lemon juice, mustard and cayenne pepper and blend until combined. Add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream and blend until smooth. Adjust the seasoning with salt and black pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Crab Cakes

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, roasted and finely diced
  • 1 pound crabmeat, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • All-purpose flour as needed
  • Fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • Beurre blanc sauce for serving (optional)
To prepare the crab cakes, in a sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften; do not brown. Add the cream and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion and celery are tender, adding the bell pepper at the last minute. Refrigerate the vegetables until cool. 

In a large bowl, combine the crabmeat, cooled vegetables, parsley, chives, Worcestershire sauce and the aioli. Add some of the panko and a small amount of flour to help bind the mixture. Stir to combine. Form the mixture into 3-ounce crab cakes and dip into the remaining panko, coating both sides. 

In a large frying pan, warm a thin layer of olive oil. Working in batches, add the crab cakes and fry, turning once, until browned on both sides. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with lemon juice. Serve with a beurre blanc sauce, if desired. Pair with Balletto Vineyards Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.

Balletto Vineyards

5700 Occidental Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95401