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Soft Shell Crabs are in this weekend!

We just received some beautiful South Carolina Soft Shell Crabs. Memories come back from my time in culinary school in Charleston and eating fired soft shell crab sandwiches on Market Street. Here is a great simple recipe!

For the tartar sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbs. minced red onion
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped dill pickle
  • 1 Tbs. rinsed and finely chopped capers
  • 1 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh chives
  • 1-1/2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco

For the crabs

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup medium-grind yellow cornmeal
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 jumbo soft-shell crabs, cleaned (bodies about 5 inches across; 3 to 3-1/2 oz. each after cleaning)
  • 2 Tbs. canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter

To assemble

  • 8 slices white sandwich bread, toasted
  • 4 large leaves Bibb lettuce
  • 4 to 8 slices ripe tomato


  • In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, onion, pickle, capers, with spicy tartar sauce chives, Old Bay, lemon juice, and hot pepper sauce. Set aside.

Cook the crabs

  • In a wide, shallow bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Dredge the crabs to coat on both sides (if the top shells are thicker than a piece of paper, pull them off before dredging).
  • Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the butter to the skillet and swirl the pan to melt it. Add the crabs top side down and cook, shaking the pan once or twice, until crisp and browned, about 3 minutes. The crabs may pop and splatter, so be careful. Flip the crabs and cook until crisp and just cooked through (an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the crab should read 145°F), about 3 minutes more. Transfer the crabs to a large paper-towel-lined plate.

Assemble your sandwiches and enjoy!

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