(credit: Foodie Chap/Liam Mayclem)
It’s crab season and in Mendocino, where crab is King, there is one Chef wearing a double crown – Chef Marc Dym, WINNER of the judges prize and audience prize at the 2015 Crab, beer & wine festival.
Now a bit of his story… After years of first-hand experience cooking, learning and eating in kitchens from Texas to Antigua to Tel Aviv, Marc Dym found himself seduced by the seclusion and beauty of the Mendocino Coast. Now Executive Chef at the family-run Little River Inn, Dym has never looked back, constantly in awe of the abundant local seafood, produce and wine available along the Northern California coast.
Chef Dym earned his degree at the Culinary Institute of America in New York in 1991, where he graduated with honors. Dym then spent four years travelling the world where he learned extensively about different cuisines and cooking styles by working in foreign kitchens and befriending the locals. In 1995, he returned stateside, fine-tuning his extensive knowledge of seafood at the Ritz Restaurant in Newport Beach, Calif. before heading up north to Little River. After eight years as Executive Chef at the acclaimed Stevenswood Restaurant in Little River, Chef Dym joined the Little River family, literally, in 2006 when he married fifth-generation Innkeeper, Cally. Together they have one son named, Max.
Passionate about the gastronomic abundance and diversity of California, Chef Dym brings a modern twist to the classic American-regional cuisine of Little River Inn. Many guests at the Inn eat every meal in the restaurant or Ole’s Whale Watch Bar, so it’s important to Chef Dym that his menu showcase seasonal and regional specialties as well as accessible, traditional favorites, while simultaneously utilizing his creativity and training.
“We offer our guests California comfort food – accessible yet refined cuisine that is affordable and reflects my classical culinary background,” said Dym.
One of Chef Dym’s preferred local ingredients, Dungeness crab, is showcased in his award-winning Dungeness Crab Cakes with pan seared mustard dill aioli. He took the two top festival prizes for that tasty crab cake recipe. I had the joy of judging the contest, featuring great recipes by a dozen super talented Mendocino County chefs. Suffice to say I devoured enough crab cakes for days!! (They were all yummy).
Check out the recipe below and enjoy the tasty chat taped minutes after Chef was announced winner.
Be sure to mark your calendar for the 2016 festival. It’s a most magical & memorable weekend, tasty too AND a fundraiser for Coast Clinics.
CONGRATULATIONS Chef Marc!
KCBS Foodie Chap Podcast:
DUNGENESS CRAB CAKES WITH MUSTARD DILL AIOLI
by Chef Marc Dym
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 ½ pound cleaned and drained Dungeness crab meat (about 2 whole crabs)
½ cup fresh corn breadcrumbs
1 large egg (lightly beaten)
¼ cup crème fraiche
¼ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 teaspoon orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
¼ cup finely diced red bell pepper
¼ cup finely diced red onion
1 tablespoon minced chives
2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
sea salt and white pepper (for seasoning, as needed)
2/3 cup Panko bread crumbs (for coating only)
¼ cup butter (or more as needed to sauté crab cakes)
fresh dill sprigs (as garnish)
Make the mustard dill aioli: In a medium bowl beat mayonnaise, dill and mustard powder until well-combined. Ideally you should let it rest at least an hour before using. Though this is optional.
Make the crab cakes: In a large mixing bowl combine all the ingredients except the panko breadcrumbs. Season lightly with salt and white pepper. Gently fold the mixture until well-combined, but still loose in texture. Do not over mix and do not compact. Try to keep the lumps of crab intact.
Pour the panko into a shallow bowl and season lightly with salt and white pepper; set aside.
Shape the crab mixture into 12 cakes, about 1-inch thick. Gently roll each cake in panko, carefully patting crumbs so that they adhere. Once they’re well-covered set them aside on a large plate, spaced so that they do not touch. The cakes will be difficult to form and easily fall apart while you work. This is a good thing. Resist the temptation to compact them too much or add more binders. The results will be tough crab cakes.
Melt butter in a large cast iron or non-stick skillet set over medium heat. Once it’s melted and foamy, but before it begins to brown, sauté the crab cakes rotating them in skillet as necessary, until lightly browned and crisp; about 5 minutes per side. Do not crowd the skillet, work in batches if necessary. Transfer each crab cakes once cooked to a paper towel lined plate to drain for a moment; serve hot garnished with dill sprigs and mustard dill aioli on the side or drizzled on top.
For more on the Crab, Wine And Beer Festival, go to VISIT MENDOCINO.