If you have never tried soft-shell crabs in any way, shape, or form, you are missing out on a spring palate rite of passage!
Recipes are plentiful this time of year but I love this particular version from MELISSA CLARK and the New York Times Cooking website. Of course, I took some liberty, but the basic recipe is Ms. Clark’s:
What you need:
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup arugula leaves, stems trimmed
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
- ¼teaspoon black pepper
- 4 soft-shell crabs, cleaned, and patted dry. A good fishmonger will clean them for you. Chip knows how to do it and cleaning them as close to cooking as possible is best.
- 4 half-inch-thick slices country-style bread
- Splash of white wine. Could be whatever you plan on drinking with dinner!
What to do:
Preheat the broiler. I have 2 settings on mine, so I used the higher one but be careful!
Finely chop 1/4 cup of the arugula. Combine in a bowl with the butter, chives, garlic, salt, and pepper. This is spectacular!
Heat 1/2 of the arugula butter mixture in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the crabs and cook, without moving, until crisp and golden, 2 to 3 minutes a side. Last minute, splash in the wine and let it sit a sec.
Spread the toasted bread with the remaining butter and place the bread on a baking sheet. Broil until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. (Watch carefully to see that they don’t burn.)
Now top each slice with a crab.
Thinly slice the remaining arugula and sprinkle on top of each serving.
Author’s note: I grilled some asparagus until tender and tossed them into the skillet after the crab were placed on the toast. They took on the flavor of the arugula butter!
Have fun and enjoy this treat that comes once a year.