By Andrew Zimmern
I set my culinary calendar for spring’s soft-shell crabs and eat them as often as I can. When blue crabs shed their shells they are entirely edible, legs and all. The saline brightness is almost oyster-ish in its flavor, the textures are singular and the meat is sweet as candy. When they are super fresh, their briny intensity is unrivaled.
Pan Fried Soft Crab A la Meuniere
- 6 soft crabs
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup cornstarch, WELL seasoned with salt and ground white pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup very dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley, chives, tarragon
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (or more to taste)
- Capers, for garnish
Clean crabs by pulling out the spongy lung material beneath the corners of the carapace. Let drain for 30 minutes on paper toweling while you gather the rest of your prep.
In a very large skillet preheated over a medium flame, add the oil.
Dredge the crabs in the corn starch, top and bottom. Fry for 2-3 minutes per side and reserve to a pair of warm plates.
Raise the heat to high, add the shallots and stir once. Add half the butter and let it brown. Add the wine, reduce until almost dry. Add the herbs, lemon juice and remaining butter, swirling together, stir and season and spoon over crabs*.
*I like to garnish with fried crispy capers.
Alternatively… place 3 crispy crabs on a soft pillowy Po Boy roll, or Vietnamese baguette along with some thinly sliced mortadella, sliced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, shaved red onion and a schmear of Remoulade.