• Pan-Crisped Soft Shell Crabs with Lemon & Herbs


Easy Soft Shell Crabs

By Andrew Zimmern

I set my culinary calendar for May’s soft-shell crabs and eat them as often as I can. Freshness is key to the success of a simple dish like this. When taken straight from the water, the intense saline brightness is oyster-ish in flavor, the textures are singular and the meat is sweet as candy. All it takes is a quick snip of a scissor to take off the eyes and a pull from under the carapace to free and discard the lungs, and these little lovelies are ready for action.

Pan-Crisped Soft Shell Crabs with Lemon & Herbs


  • 12 soft shell crabs, cleaned and patted dry
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces of clarified butter
  • 4 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2/3 cup white wine
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste


Clean and dry the crabs.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornstarch, flour, Old Bay seasoning, salt and pepper.

Dredge each crab in the cornstarch mixture, shaking off any excess. Set aside.

Preheat a very large saute pan over high heat for a couple of minutes. Add the clarified butter, followed by the crabs.

Cook for one minute and lower heat to medium. Cook for 2 more minutes until crisped. Flip the crabs and cook until browned and crisp on the other sides, about 3 minutes longer.

Reserve crabs to a platter.

Add the shallots and herbs to the pan. Swirl to cook through, add the wine. Reduce by two-thirds. Remove the pan from heat and swirl in the butter.

Adjust sauce by adding the lemon juice and drizzle over the crabs.

Photograph by Madeleine Hill.

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