Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Go Crab-it!

I love most Regional New Orleans dishes, but my all time favorite is soft-shell crab. Fried soft-shell crabs are utterly amazing and if my arteries didn't have a say in it I would eat them every day. I often order soft-shell crabs when dining out in Louisiana and have eaten them hundreds of times. I have not however cooked them in my own home. Last time Forrest traveled home my mother-in-law sent him back with a goody ice chest filled with several New Orleans treats. All of the contents were great, but my favorites by far were the frozen soft-shelled crabs she packed for us. I couldn't wait to cook them and this recipe was perfection.

Fried Soft-Shell Crabs with Shellfish Ragu
Adapted from
Emeril Lagasse

  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 8 soft-shell crabs, cleaned and rinsed gently under cold running water
  • Essence, recipe in link above
  • 1 box of Zatarain's Shrimp Fry
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup minced shallots
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3/4 cup shrimp or seafood stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 pound cooked crawfish tails, peeled and seasoned with Essence
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Snipped green onions


Preheat the oil in a large saucepan or deep fryer to 360 degrees F.

Rinse crabs in water, then pat dry with paper towel. Season each crab with 1 teaspoon of the Essence and set aside.

Follow directions on fish fry to make batter.

Lightly dredge each crab in the fish fry batter, making sure that the crabs are completely coated.

Coat each crab in dry fish fry.

Holding the crabs by long tongs or balanced on a small skimmer, hold them so that the legs dangle down into the hot oil and fry for 1 minute, or until the legs are stiff. Lower the crab completely into the oil and fry until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Turn crab over and allow to fry an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy all over. Carefully transfer crabs to paper-lined plates to drain briefly before serving. Sprinkle with Essence when still hot.

In a large skillet over medium high heat melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and saute the shallots until soft, about 2 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the shrimp and the remaining teaspoon of Essence and saute for 1 minute, or until the shrimp turn pink around the edges.

Add the shrimp stock, bring to a boil and cook over high heat until the stock is reduced by half.

Add the heavy cream and cook until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes.

Add the crawfish tails, fresh thyme and snipped chives and cook until heated through.

Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and remove sauce from the heat.

Taste, adjust seasoning if necessary, and serve the ragu ladled over or under the fried softshell crabs.


Spryte said...

I've never tried soft shell crab... they kinda scare me a little!

Maryanna said...

I'm so glad to see this on your blog. I also live by the Gulf in Mobile, AL. We love soft shell crabs, too! I've never had the guts to make them, but you've given me new inspiration.

MaryBeth said...

I have seen these made a million times but have never tried it for myself..

Krista said...

Oh my goodness! This looks amazing...all of it! Great recipe. Too bad we're so land-locked. I bet there's not a soft shelled crab to be found for miles. I'll have to live vicariously through your post.

Tiff said...

I love soft shell crabs. I've never tried making them myself though. Yours look really good!

Gabriela said...

Ummmm! Soft shells crabs are an all time favorite here too! Yours appear to have turned out fantastic!

MrsRobinson said...

That looks amazing! I am coming over next time you cook this dish.

Anonymous said...

Oh my!

Your Sister,

Kerstin said...

I'm so impressed, they look amazing! I just had my first soft shell crab ever a couple weeks ago and it was so good, I've been missing out!

Suzy said...

My all time favorite thing to get when I am home in La and eat at any seafood restaurant serves it. I first ate them at Ralph and Kakoos with hollandaise on top and more crab meat. Love softshell crawfish like that too. You are a brave one to try yourself. I am sure I'd have to mortgage my house to get those crab here in Washington. Maybe next time my parents come for a visit :-)