Pan-Roasted Soft-Shell Crabs and Roasted Tomato Sauce

I first tasted a soft-shelled crab in a sushi dish and I was hooked. I’ll eat just about any sushi on the menu if there is a soft-shelled crab on the ingredients list. This recipe borders on “fancy dinner” time.  See also that the sauce needs at lest four hours of prep time to roast the tomatoes…so this isn’t one to just whip up. Unless you’ve got an idea for a different sauce…

Still I want to give it a try. Or hope you try it and tell me what it tastes like. Also it comes from one of my favorite magazines: Garden and Gun.

(Serves 4)

Soft-Shell Crabs:

4 large soft-shell crabs, cleaned and drained

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. onion powder

6 tbsp. clarified butter

Sauce Choron

2 tomatoes, cored, halved, seeded

4 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

salt and black pepper

1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

5 egg yolks

2 tbsp. warm water

1 cup clarified butter (hold warm)

2 tsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. Tabasco

Cider-Wilted Arugula

2 tbsp. butter

1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced

1 lb. bag of arugula

salt and black pepper

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

To make the sauce Choron:

Place the tomatoes cut side up on a cookie sheet, drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme, and sliced garlic. Roast tomatoes at 275 degrees for 4 hours or until lightly browned. Remove from oven, cool, and chop roughly.

Turn oven up to 450 degrees. In a stainless bowl, whisk together the yolks and water until frothy. Drizzle in clarified butter while whisking constantly until fully incorporated. Whisk in lemon juice, Tabasco, and tomato. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Hold in a warm spot over or very close to the stove.

For the arugula:

Heat butter in a soup pot and sauté onion until transparent. Add arugula, and stir until the greens begin to wilt. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Once the arugula is fully wilted, deglaze with the apple cider vinegar and continue to sauté for another 3 minutes.

For the crabs:

Blend all dry ingredients in a stainless or glass bowl. Dredge crabs in flour mixture, knock off any excess, and set aside on a plate. Heat butter in a large sauté pan and place crabs (belly side down) in the hot butter. Allow to sauté until bottoms are browned, flip onto top side, and place in the 450-degree oven for 7 minutes.

To assemble:

Place arugula in center of a large platter. Layer the crabs, shingled, over the greens. Ladle sauce Choron over crabs. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley or mixed fresh herbs.



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