Even though dip season is officially over (I designate Halloween to Super Bowl official dip season), there is no reason to miss out on something really yummy. Who doesn't love an easy appetizer to throw together, especially one as rich and creamy as this one.
Let's face it, dip is an essential source of pre-dinner sustenance for hungry guests. And while I made this dip using white wine, it also pairs beautifully with red wine too. Please know that cool climate wines like ours, ones with higher acidity, make them extremely food friendly....especially with a cheesy dish such as this one. The acidity in the wine cuts right through the fat.
While fat adds richness, not to mention deliciousness to food, fat can also put up a barrier to wine. Fat coats the taste buds, making it difficult to perceive delicate flavors. Rich fatty foods need wines with enough acidity to cut through the fat and announce themselves. Wines with good acidity, such as ours, can cut through fat like a squeeze of lemon on fried fish, making the food feel less rich and heavy. When wine doesn't have enough acidity, the combination collapses under its own weight. Just by knowing how fat and acidity combine will help you make choices with food and wine that work more often than not.
Well, I guess that's my food-wine pairing lesson for the moment...we hope you are having a fabulous day!!!
Baked Crab and Almond Dip
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
One 8 ounce cream cheese, room temperature
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup white wine (our Pinot Gris works great)
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
¼ cup finely chopped green onions, more for garnish
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 dashes hot red pepper sauce
6 ounces lump crab meat
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toast the almonds in a dry pan over medium heat. Stir frequently, making sure not to burn them. Set aside.
With a hand held mixer, blend cream cheese, mayonnaise, wine, ¼ cup Parmesan, green onions, garlic and hot sauce until combined. Fold in crab and almonds by hand. Transfer the mixture to a small baking dish and top with the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, until it's hot and bubbly. Garnish with green onion.
Remove from the oven and serve warm with your favorite crackers, baguette or tortilla chips and wine!