Easy Soft Shell Crabs
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 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 corn starch, 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 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.