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Crisp-Fried Soft-Shell Crabs

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Ingredients

  • HOMEMADE SAUCE TARTARE:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 soft-shell crabs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Oil for frying
  • 1 garlic clove cut in half
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup minced green onions green parts only
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 teaspoons minced cornichons - (abt 6)
  • 1 teaspoon juice from cornichons
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley

Details

Servings 6

Preparation

Step 1

Mix together the flour, salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl.

If you haven't purchased cleaned crabs, clean them: With kitchen scissors, cut off the "face" about one-fourth inch behind the eyes. Gently probe the opening with the tips of the scissors and, if there is a gray-black sand sac, remove it. Lift the points of the shell on either side and cut away the pale gray finger-shaped gills underneath. Turn the crab over and cut away the loose apron folded underneath. As each crab is finished, put it in the bowl of flour.

In another large bowl, stir together the eggs and milk until thoroughly blended.

Turn the crabs in the flour until completely coated. Lift them out and gently shake loose any excess. Turn them in the egg-milk combination until completely coated and then return them to the flour mixture, turning over to coat them again. Gently shake loose any excess flour and arrange the crabs on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Make the Homemade Sauce Tartare: Rub the cut surfaces of the garlic clove around the inside of a medium ceramic bowl until the bowl is wet and shiny with garlic juice. Add the mayonnaise, green onions, mustard, cornichons, cornichon juice and parsley and stir thoroughly. Taste and add a little more cornichon juice if necessary. The mixture should be piquant and full-flavored. (Makes 1 1/4 cups)

When almost ready to serve, heat one-fourth to half an inch of oil in the bottom of a heavy skillet. The oil is hot enough when a piece of crustless bread touched to the surface sends up a rapid, steady stream of bubbles.

Place the crabs in the pan, arranging them so the claws are tight against the body. Fry until nicely browned on one side, then turn and fry the other side. This will take about 4 to 5 minutes per side. The oil should be fiercely bubbling the whole time.

When the crabs are cooked, remove to a baking sheet lined with paper towels or a brown paper sack to drain. Serve each crab with a generous tablespoon of homemade sauce tartare and pass the rest.

This recipe yields 6 servings.

Each serving: 212 calories; 480 mg. sodium; 90 mg. cholesterol; 12 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 17 grams carbohydrates; 9 grams protein; 1 gram fiber.

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