Wine and Guacamole

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Quick and Easy Kanikama Guacamole (Kanikama is a crab fishcake)

We’ve been there, needing that quick but festive appetizer to take to your next holiday event or to treat yourself while you unwind with a nice glass of wine. Think crab and avocados. Simple and elegant guacamole ready in minutes.

A snare in the crab pot

Winter on the West Coast means Crab Season, usually beginning in November and lasting through the New Year, perfect for all manner of celebrations.  Alas, El Niño has thrown a huge monkey-wrench into our coastal waters that has created an algae bloom which is making our Dungeness crab toxic to humans and delaying all commercial and sport crabbing for the foreseeable future. There are hopes that the oceans will clear by the New Year and the ban will be lifted and our fishermen can salvage part of their season. While I’m waiting, I decided to fall back on a low-budget staple.

I was introduced to Surimi-based products like kanikama or crab fish cakes years ago by my dear work colleague when we would share lunches on the patio, escaping the confines of a cement basement. This Japanese American daughter of a strawberry farmer opened my eyes and palate to her own family’s comfort foods which have been staples of the Japanese diet for many centuries. Since then I have used this “imitation crab” in many ways where real fresh crab was inconvenient, unavailable or just too expensive — think seafood quesadillas, pizzas, and dips. Advances in production have improved not only flavor, but sustainability. Look for products that have removed all phosphates, sorbitol, artificial flavors and artificial colors from their surimi seafood.

And, what better pairing than a crisp and bright Sauvignon Blanc, complimenting the buttery avocados, heat of the jalepeño, and richness of crab. The Hess Select North Coast 2014 Sauvignon Blanc from the Hess Collection hits you gently as you breathe in grassy tones and followup with citrus and tropical fruit favors and aromas. Fermented in stainless steel, there are no oak tannins to alter it’s minerality reflecting the California North Coast vineyards with their volcanic and gravelly soils. This wine has won numerous awards for past vintages including the Critics Challenge Wine Competition awarded the 2013 Critics Gold and the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition awarded the 2011 vintage Gold. It is moderately priced with a $13.00 SRP and can be found for around $9.00 making it an affordable party or everyday apéritif, dinner or party wine.

Seafood Guacamole © Robin E. H. Ove All rights reserved

Festive Pairing Hess Select North Coast Sauvignon Blanc and Guacamole

Guacamole with Imitation Crab

Guacamole with Imitation Crab
Prep time
Total time
Budget friendly yet full of flavor and elegance guacamole with sustainable, all natural kanikama (crab fish cake) and creamy avocados.
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican-American
Serves: 2 cups
  • 2 ripe Avocados
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced Red Onion
  • 1 chopped Jalepeño Pepper (seeds removed)
  • ½ cup chopped imitation crab lumps or flakes (I used Kanimi CrabSmart with Natural Ingredients)
  1. Mash avocados in a medium sized bowl, add in rest of ingredients and stir to combine.
  2. Garnish with chopped cilantro and lime slices
  3. Serve with tortilla chips

Whether you call it imitation crab, surimi seafood, or kanikama; just call it good eating!

Seafood Guacamole © Robin E. H. Ove All rights reserved

The Hess Collection has several family wine estates from Monterey, Napa to Mendocino as well as internationally in Argentina and South Africa.  This year they celebrated thirty vintages from their first estate Mount Veeder with the 2012 releases.

“The Hess Collection was founded by Swiss entrepreneur Donald Hess, who first purchased vineyards on Mount Veeder in 1978. Located in the historic stone winery originally constructed in 1903 by Colonel Theodore Gier. The winery first opened to the public in 1989. The winery has earned international recognition for its wine, culinary and visitor programs while providing free public access to Donald Hess’ extensive private contemporary Art Museum.

The wines cultivated at The Hess Collection follow the dictates of the Napa Green certified land and winery programs, as well as the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance “Code of Sustainable Winegrowing”, both third-party certification programs with significant oversight.” – Our Story / Hess Collection Website


Disclosure: I received a variety of Select wines from the Hess Collection to taste and inspire recipe development in return for a blog post describing my findings. No other compensation was provided and all my words and images are my own.

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