Soft Shell Crab Sandwiches + A New Project

About once every two months we make some seasonal form of soft-shell crab sandwiches and the past FOUR times I have been meaning to post a picture along with a recipe. Our friend Matt, a New Orleans native, joined us for dinner last night and we all feasted on these crispy fried crustaceans. Wouldn’t you know I forgot to snap a photo! But I did have a picture from another time we ate them recently. Soft-shell crabs are only in season for a short time in the early summer when they are shedding their hard shell. What a treat that with just a bit of cleaning, you can enjoy the entire crab! I often like to serve these to people who are hesitant to try or intimated by all the work that goes into eating boiled blue crabs. Between some fresh toasted bread, grainy mustard, mayonnaise and bacon-who could resist? I’ve never eaten or cooked soft shell crabs any other way than fried and I have no desire to. Now, during cooler months, wilted bitter kale goes great and in the summer, sweet tomatoes for the ultimate BLT. Give them a try!

Before jumping to the recipe, I wanted to let everyone know about a little project I’ve been working on (slowly, very slowly, but surely). Sometimes with this blog, I felt a little confusion about its direction. Is it a food blog? A family blog? A travel blog? Really I don’t even know. A good bit of my readers are friends and family from our hometowns who could care less about what we are eating (because they eat so good already-some taught me everything I know!) and just want to see pictures of our little rugrats and what we are up to. A few readers stop in to check out recipes and likely have their own adorable kids to stare at all day so don’t really need to see a dozen photos of mine. People are always commenting on Grace’s eating habits and asking about how she came to eat such a myriad of foods at only two years old. Not wanting to bombard this site with recipes and articles, I’ve been slowly logging them on a separate site titled Grace Gourmet. I will still continue to post to this site, however there will not be as much food content as there will be recounts of our little family adventures and other personal updates like birthdays and other celebrations. If there is a unique pertinent recipe (like soft shell crabs!) or one that comes with a story, then I will post it here. Grace Gourmet will be ALL food related and also geared towards encouraging other parents to feed themselves and their children the best they can. I am still working on the rhythm of Grace Gourmet (can’t even get myself to write on the about page ha!) but I wanted to go ahead and share it with you. There should be an option to put your email in if you want to follow along there as well, submit questions, recipe ideas, feedback and whatnot. I’ve gone ahead and linked some recipes from here to there and added some new ones too. I’d love for you to pay it a visit, leave your email if you want to stay in touch, and give any feedback you have. Thanks for letting me share this with you and all the other random pictures, stories, etc that I spill on this site. More to come and here’s a recipe in the mean time. Thank you all for reading and for your support!

Soft Shell Crab Sandwiches

Cooking notes: Make sure crabs are as dry as can be and room temperature before frying.

Serves 4

For the crabs:

Ingredients:

  • 4 cleaned soft shell crabs, patted dry
  • Canola or vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/2 cup Buttermilk (or whole milk + 1 tbs of vinegar or buttermilk)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (or enough to generously cover a dinner plate)
  • 1 cup cornmeal (or enough to generously cover a dinner plate)
  • About 1 tablespoon homemade or store bought blackening or Cajun seasoning (cayenne, cumin,  paprika, onion & garlic powder, black pepper, salt)

Method:

  • Heat enough oil for the bottom 2 inches on a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven to be coated completely.
  • While oil is  heating, pour flour on a plate, combine seasoning and corn meal on a plate and buttermilk/egg in a bowl. Arrange in an assembly line ordering flour, buttermilk/egg, cornmeal.
  • One at a time, dip soft shell crab in flour, dust excess, then dip in buttermilk/egg, and then in cornmeal. Fry until the crab is stiff and golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. If you’ve put enough oil in your pan to completely submerge the crabs than it will likely only take 3 minutes total. Once all are fried set aside to drain on paper towel and keep warm in oven on low heat.

For the kale:

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices good quality bacon
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed, loosely chopped
  • Generous pinch of salt

Method:

  • Fry a few slices of bacon, set aside to drain on paper towels
  • In the same pan, cook 1 bunch of kale and season generously with salt, set aside

The rest:

  • 4 onion rolls or good quality sandwich rolls, toasted
  • Creole mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Pickles
  • Lemon

Assembly:

  • Smear the bread with a generous spoonful of mustard and mayonnaise, then add kale, pickles, two slices each of bacon and soft-shell crabs.

Side ideas:

  • Baked sweet potato
  • Zapps potato chips

 

 

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