Soft-shells, simply made

Try This At Home

May 27, 2007|By Kate Shatzkin | Kate Shatzkin,Sun Reporter

It's soft-shell crab season in Maryland. Benjamin Erjavec, executive chef of the Oceanaire Seafood Room in Harbor East, has this simple way to dress them up.


Serves 6 as an appetizer or 3 as a main course

6 soft-shell crabs, cleaned

2 cups buttermilk

1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1/2 cup white wine

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 pound butter

1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Soak soft-shell crabs in buttermilk for 1/2 hour. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Place peppercorns, bay leaf, garlic and wine in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce liquid by half. Add cream and reduce again, by half. Chop butter in small pieces and add slowly, while whisking rapidly. Once butter is melted, strain sauce through a fine strainer. Discard solids. Stir in tarragon and season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Keep warm.

Mix cornmeal and Old Bay seasoning. Dust tops of crabs with cornmeal mixture. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Sear crabs, about 3 minutes per side. To serve, spoon sauce onto plates; top with crabs. Serve immediately.

Per serving (based on 6 servings): 451 calories, 7 grams protein, 42 grams fat, 23 grams saturated fat, 13 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 113 milligrams cholesterol, 414 milligrams sodium. Recipe analysis provided by registered dietitian Jodie Shield.

Courtesy of Benjamin Erjavec, executive chef of the Oceanaire Seafood Room

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