Sautéed Soft Shell Crabs
I always loved soft shell crabs but never attempted to make them myself, mainly because I was unable get them live. Even if I could, I do not think I would want to go through the necessary steps to prepare them for cooking. Finally, I am able to purchase frozen soft shell crabs from my local seafood shop. They are cleaned, flash-frozen and ready to cook once defrosted. They are a little pricy but delicious, and make a quick and easy main dish for a special occasion or entertaining. The recipe can be made in any amount needed.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 12 small frozen soft shell crabs, about 2 x 5-inches each, thawed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter, preferably unsalted
- Fresh lemon juice
- Remoulade (optional sauce, see the similar and related recipes links)
On a plate, mix together the flour, paprika, parsley, salt and pepper. Pat the crabs dry with a paper towel. Coat with the flour mixture and tap off excess. Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the crabs, in batches if necessary, and sauté until nicely browned, about 3 minutes per side. (Soft shell crabs contain a lot of moisture and will 'spit' and splatter while browning, so be careful. If you have a splatter screen, this is the time to use it.) Place crabs on a cooling rack to drain, Drizzle each crab with a little lemon juice and, if desired, additional salt. Serve immediately, with the remoulade on the side.
Notes: Remoulade is a mayonnaise-based French sauce that is similar to tartar sauce. It can be prepared up to a day ahead and refrigerated. If you are lucky enough to have leftover crabs, they make a delicious cold seafood sandwich. If desired, you can make this same recipe specifically for hot crab sandwiches.