Soft Shell Crab Fry Recipe

by vitus
Soft Shell Crab Fry

Summer is in full swing, and the craving for light yet satisfying meals comes with it. Enter the soft-shell crab fry, an exquisite and delicious delicacy. These crabs, available for a limited time, have a soft, tender body encased in a light shell that crisps up perfectly when fried.

What Is Soft Shell Crab Fry?

A ‘soft shell crab fry’ is a dish where soft shell crabs are battered and fried. Soft-shell crabs have recently molted their hard outer shell, leaving them temporarily soft and edible whole, including their shell.

Ingredients:

Soft Shell Crabs:

  • Clean 4-6 soft shell crabs (look for them at seafood markets).

For The Batter:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch (optional for extra crispiness)
  • 1 tablespoon seafood seasoning (like Old Bay)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups milk (or buttermilk for added tang)
  • Vegetable oil (enough for frying)
  • Lemon wedges
  • Tartar sauce
  • Cocktail sauce
  • Spicy mayo

Instructions:

  1. Prep The Crabs: Gently rinse the crabs under cold water. Look for the feathery gills on the topside near the points. Pinch and remove them. Then, flip the crab and twist off the small flap on the underside (the “mouth”).
  2. Make The Batter: In a large mixing basin, combine the flour, cornstarch (if using), spices, and seasonings. In another basin, combine the eggs and milk.
  3. Heat The Oil: In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat enough oil (at least 2 inches deep) to 350°F (175°C). You can use a thermometer to check the temperature or test it by dropping a small piece of batter – it should sizzle and float to the surface.
  4. Dredge And Fry: Working in batches if necessary, dip the crabs in the flour batter , wrapping it completely. Dip the crab in the egg mixture, letting any excess drip off. Finally, dredge the crab in the flour mixture for an even crispy coat. Carefully lower the crab into the hot oil.
  5. Fry To Golden Perfection: Fry the crabs for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown and cooked through. The crabs should float to the surface when they are almost done. Don’t overcrowd the pot – fry in batches to maintain the oil temperature.
  6. Drain And Serve: Transfer the fried crabs to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil. Sprinkle with a touch of more salt. , if desired. Serve hot with lemon wedges and dipping sauces like tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, or spicy mayo.

Tips:

  • Oil Temperature: keeping the correct oil temperature is crucial, the batter will get burnt, if the oil is very hot, before the crab cooks through. If it’s too cool, the batter will be greasy.
  • Don’t Overcrowd: Fry the crabs in batches to avoid lowering the oil temperature and ensure even cooking.
  • Fresh Is Best: Use the freshest soft shell crabs for the best flavor and texture.
  • Spice It Up: Add a little of cayenne pepper to the batter for a touch of heat.
  • Alternatives To Frying: While deep-frying is traditional, you can also pan-fry the crabs in a shallow layer of hot oil. This method takes a little longer, but it can be more manageable.

What To Serve With

Rice Dishes:

  • Coconut Rice: Fragrant coconut rice adds a tropical touch and balances the richness of the soft shell crab fry dish
  • Jasmine Rice: Light and fluffy, jasmine rice is a versatile option that lets the flavors of the soft shell crab fry dish shine.
  • Fried Rice: A savory option with vegetables and soy sauce adds depth and texture the soft shell crab fry delicacy.

Vegetables:

  • Grilled Asparagus: Lightly charred asparagus complements the crab with its smoky flavor.
  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts: Crispy Brussels sprouts offer a hearty, slightly bitter contrast.
  • Sautéed Spinach: Quick-cooked spinach adds a fresh, vibrant element.

Salads:

  • Mixed Green Salad: A simple salad will enhance the meal without overpowering the soft shell crab fry dish.
  • Mango And Avocado Salad: Tropical flavors of mango and creamy avocado provide a refreshing contrast.

Sauces and Dips:

  • Remoulade Sauce: A classic choice with a tangy, creamy texture that complements the soft shell crab’s crispiness.
  • Spicy Aioli: Adds a kick of flavor with garlic and chili, perfect for dipping.
  • Lemon Butter Sauce: A simple butter and lemon sauce enhances the crab’s natural sweetness.

Breads and Rolls:

  • Garlic Bread: Crusty garlic bread is excellent for soaking up sauces and adding a comforting element.
  • Cornbread: Sweet cornbread pairs well with seafood and adds a Southern touch.

Additional Sides:

  • Fried Plantains: Sweet and savory plantains complement the crispy crab with their caramelized flavor.
  • Coleslaw: A creamy or vinegar-based coleslaw adds a refreshing crunch.
  • Sweet Potato Fries: Crispy and slightly sweet, these fries are an excellent alternative to conventional fries.

Beverage Pairings:

  • White Wine: A crisp, acidic white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay complements the seafood.
  • Beer: Try a light lager or a citrusy IPA for a refreshing pairing.
  • Iced Tea: Sweet or unsweetened iced tea is a classic non-alcoholic option that refreshes the palate.

Health Benefits

  • Protein Source: Soft-shell crab is a good source of high-quality protein. Protein is important for muscle repair, growth, and overall body function. A soft-shell crab fry can contribute significantly to your daily protein intake.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Crab, including soft shell crab, contains omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These fatty acids have been linked to improved heart health, including decreasing inflammation and a lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Softshell crabs are rich in several vitamins and minerals essential for health, such as:
  • Vitamin B12: Vital for nerve function and the production of DNA.
  • Selenium: It acts as an antioxidant and is crucial for thyroid function.
  • Zinc: Supports immune function and helps in healing wounds
  • Low In Saturated Fat: When prepared without excessive batter or deep-fried in healthier oils, soft-shell crab fry can be relatively low in saturated fat compared to other fried foods. Choosing healthier cooking methods can minimize the intake of unhealthy fats.
  • Calcium: Softshell crabs also contain calcium, essential for bone health and muscle function.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it! With some preparation and these handy tips, you can recreate the magic of restaurant-style soft-shell crab fry right at home. This dish will impress your guests with its unique texture, delicate flavor, and satisfying crunch.

More Seafood Recipes:

Soft Shell Crab Fry

Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )
Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time: Nutrition facts: 186 calories 13.1 grams fat

Ingredients

Soft Shell Crabs: Clean 4-6 soft shell crabs (look for them at seafood markets). For The Batter:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch (optional for extra crispiness)
  • 1 tablespoon seafood seasoning (like Old Bay)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups milk (or buttermilk for added tang)
  • Vegetable oil (enough for frying)
  • Lemon wedges
  • Tartar sauce
  • Cocktail sauce
  • Spicy mayo

Instructions

  1. Prep The Crabs: Gently rinse the crabs under cold water. Look for the feathery gills on the topside near the points. Pinch and remove them. Then, flip the crab and twist off the small flap on the underside (the "mouth").
  2. Make The Batter: In a large mixing basin, combine the flour, cornstarch (if using), spices, and seasonings. In another basin, combine the eggs and milk.
  3. Heat The Oil: In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat enough oil (at least 2 inches deep) to 350°F (175°C). You can use a thermometer to check the temperature or test it by dropping a small piece of batter – it should sizzle and float to the surface.
  4. Dredge And Fry: Working in batches if necessary, dip the crabs in the flour batter , wrapping it completely. Dip the crab in the egg mixture, letting any excess drip off. Finally, dredge the crab in the flour mixture for an even crispy coat. Carefully lower the crab into the hot oil.
  5. Fry To Golden Perfection: Fry the crabs for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown and cooked through. The crabs should float to the surface when they are almost done. Don't overcrowd the pot – fry in batches to maintain the oil temperature.
  6. Drain And Serve: Transfer the fried crabs to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil. Sprinkle with a touch of more salt. , if desired. Serve hot with lemon wedges and dipping sauces like tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, or spicy mayo.

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