Soft shell crabs are my everything. They were the first-ever recipe on Umami Girl way back in in 2008. They were my diet food for a hot sec in 2015. This week they’ve been my tacos, my salad, my sandwich, and my parenting style. (Dinner as anatomy lesson? Why not.)
As for me, I’ve been the lady making awkward chit chat with the fish guy about how soft shell crabs are basically a cross between crabs and potato chips. Is it still called chit chat when you’re the only one talking?
The goal of any soft shell crab recipe, in my opinion, is to gently augment the crab while basically just letting it shine, shine, shine. This soft shell crab sandwich keeps it simple in all the right ways. It utilizes just a few simple, good-quality ingredients — brioche bun, perfectly ripe tomato, soft leaf lettuce and Kewpie mayo (or regular mayo if you insist) — so the crab can take center stage.
How to Cook Soft Shell Crabs
Start with cleaned crabs. Have the fishmonger clean them for you, or do this. (Warning: one of the steps is “snip the face off.” Just so you know.)
Sprinkle some all-purpose flour onto a plate and dredge each crab through the flour until it’s lightly covered.
Use a heavy 12-inch pan for nice, predictable, even cooking. I really like these simple and inexpensive seasoned Lodge cast iron skillets. They’re versatile and last forever.
In a little oil (for its high smoke point) and a little melted butter (for flavor), you’ll cook the crabs over medium heat. Add the crabs belly up in a single layer. Cook for four minutes on the first side, then flip and cook for three minutes on the other side. They’ll be crisp and golden brown outside and perfectly cooked through on the inside. That’s it!
Talk to you soon.
Soft Shell Crab Sandwich
The goal of any soft shell crab recipe, in our opinion, is to gently augment the crab while basically just letting it shine, shine, shine. This sandwich keeps it simple in all the right ways, utilizing just a few simple, good-quality ingredients so the crab can take center stage.
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 large cleaned soft shell crabs
- 1 tablespoon safflower oil (or other high-heat cooking oil)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 brioche hamburger buns
- Kewpie mayonnaise (or regular mayo), to taste
- 2 center slices from a large, beautifully ripe tomato
- 2 leaves soft lettuce
Sprinkle the flour onto a plate and dredge each crab lightly in the flour. Heat butter and oil in a heavy 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the crabs belly up in a single layer. Cook for four minutes on the first side, then flip and cook for three minutes on the other side.
Lightly toast brioche buns. I like to do this in the toaster oven, but you could do it right in the pan after removing the crabs if you like. Spread some Kewpie mayo (or regular mayo if you insist) onto the inside of the top bun. Layer tomato, soft shell crab, and lettuce onto bottom bun. Close sandwich and serve.