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Author Notes: Today when I went to the store and saw what was available, I felt obligated to create a dish using the two freshest, most indulgent and seasonal ingredients I could find: fresh morels, and live soft shell crabs. What emerged is my springtime take on the classic crab stuffed mushroom, with a twist. On my blog here: http://bit.ly/a2bSxL - lechef
Serves 4 as a starter
- 2 fresh soft shell crabs
- 4-6 fresh morel mushrooms
- 1 scallion
- 2 tablespoons butter
- First off, morels. You will want to rinse them thoroughly to avoid the inevitable grit that finds its way into the intricate honeycomb pattern of the mushroom. Run them through a cold water bath at least 3-4 times before you use them.
- After washing, gently shake excess water from mushrooms and pat dry with a paper towel. Bisect the morels lengthwise to produce 8 mushroom halves.
- To prepare the crabs, cut each crab in half. Remove the carapace (carefully) and cut into two pieces (4 per crab, total) In the photo I uploaded, the crab has been cut in half. The far left shows the crab with carapace removed, and the carapace (now cut into quarters) is on the far right. You will want to have 8 pieces of crab carapace like the ones on the far right. These will be the topping for the dish.
- The meat will come from the body, under the carapace where the legs attach. In the photo above, it is the white meat on the piece of crab on the far left. Cut away the legs (and saute them up in butter as a snack…don’t let them go to waste!) and cut the meaty part of the body into two pieces. Again, you will have 8 pieces of crab meat. Don’t worry about cleaning it…everything there is edible. You want 8 bite-sized nuggets.
- Using the outer layer of a scallion, cut 8 thin, 3-inch long matchsticks of scallion. Set aside.
- Heat the butter in a skillet until just bubbling. Add the morels, honeycomb side down. Add the 8 lumps of crab meat and the carapace pieces. If your pan isn’t big enough to cook everything at once, you may want to put the carapace pieces into a separate pan with butter.
- Cook the mushrooms and crab for 2-3 minutes. It won’t take long. Remove the mushrooms to plates, and lay one slice of scallion on each mushroom. Place one lump of crab meat on each mushroom. The carapaces should be getting crispy by this point, and turning red.
- Finish the dish by placing the crispy carapace on top of the lump of crab, and drizzling some of the (now) browned butter on the plate.