This recipe is courtesy of Jimmy Sneed, probably the foremost expert on soft-shell crabs. He wrote the foreword to "The Soft Shell Crab Cookbook." At the time, he was the chef at Windows on Urbanna Creek (Va.). He subsequently ran the Frog and the Redneck in Richmond.
Today, Jimmy is consulting for another restaurant in Richmond. Here, he defers to soft-shell nobility by presenting the crabs with simplicity.
Servings: 2 - 4
- 1/4 cup flour
- 4 soft-shell crabs, cleaned and dressed
- 2 to 4 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
- 3 to 6 tablespoons clarified butter
- 1/2 lemon (juice only)
- Chopped parsley, for garnish
Place the flour in a shallow bowl. Blot the crabs with paper towels, then dip them in the flour and shake off the excess (the crabs should be dusted, not coated, with flour).
Place a cast-iron skillet over medium heat and add 1 to 2 tablespoons oil and 1 to 2 tablespoons clarified butter. Add 2 crabs and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Turn over and cook for 1 minute. Transfer the crabs to a serving plate. Wipe the pan with paper towels and repeat the process with the remaining crabs.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and 1 to 2 tablespoons clarified butter. Brush the crabs with the lemon butter and sprinkle with the chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
Adapted from chef Jimmy Sneed.
Tested by Judith Weinraub.
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