The preschooler and I went to Baltimore this week to visit two of my best friends – Dina and the Soft Shell Crab. I’ve been thinking of them both ever since.
Last night we had the dinner of my early May to July dreams: sauteed soft shell crabs over an Asian-ish salad.
Soft Shell Crabs over Asian Salad
Serves two very hungry adults and an uninterested preschooler.
For the crabs
6 wild soft shell crabs, cleaned
1 cup whole milk
1 cup unbleached white flour
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons butter
Lemon (for squeezing)
For the salad
4 big handfuls mizuna or other leafy green
1 ripe avocado, diced
A couple of handfuls of cherry tomatoes
1/2 english cucumber, diced
2 Tablespoons capers
And really whatever else you like in your salad. Some toasted sesame seeds would be delightful.
For the dressing
2 Tablespoons Toasted Sesame Oil
2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar (we Copes like us some acid – use less for a more traditional vinaigrette balance)
1+ Tablespoons Soy Sauce, to taste
1 teaspoon Honey
1/4 teaspoon Wasabi Powder
2 dashes Fish Sauce
In a shallow bowl, soak the crabs in the milk for about half an hour. Meanwhile, assemble the salad in a large bowl and whisk together all ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl. Remove the crabs from the milk, shaking off any excess liquid. Season each crab with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute the crabs (in batches if necessary – don’t crowd them) for about three minutes per side. Toss the salad with the dressing and divide the salad among serving plates. Top with crabs and a squeeze of lemon.