Soft Shell Crabs are an eagerly awaited annual delicacy for those of us in the Mid-Atlantic Region. As with most delicacies, the fresher the better, and the less you mess around with them the better. This is my favorite way to eat them. Serve them with my Chimichurri Aoli:
http://www.food52.com/recipes... —Burnt Offerings
"Whaler" size Soft Shell Crabs - cleaned (faces cut off and gills removed)
Have your fishmonger kill and clean the crabs for you. You can do this yourself, but it's rather gruesome. To clean live crabs, take a pair of scissors and cut off their eyes, mouth and feelers about 1/4 inch behind their eyes. This kills the crab, but it will continue to move - it's only reflexes. Once that's done, lift the top of the apron (shell) and remove the feathery gills on either side. Rinse and dry thoroughly.
Mix together the flour, Old Bay and Pepper in a small plate.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saute pan until foaming.
Dredge two of the crabs in the flour mixture, coating them well.
Lay the crabs upside down in the foaming butter and cook for 3-4 minutes until the shell has turned bright red and the flour begins to brown. Take care not to cook at too high a heat - you don't want to burn the butter.
Flip the crabs and cook on the other side for another 3-4 minutes till browned. Remove to a plate and keep warm while you cook the rest of the crabs.
Repeat the with remaining crabs, two at a time.
Once the crabs are cooked, deglaze the pan with the juice of one large lemon and 1/4 cup of white wine. If you don't have enough butter and oil left - you can add a tablespoon of butter.
Add the lemon Zest. Scrape up all the good browned bits and reduce until the sauce is thickened and the wine has evaporated - about 2 minutes.
Add the capers to heat through, and pour the sauce over the crabs.
Sprinkle with parsley, and serve with crusty bread to mop it all up. Serve with Chimichurri Aoli as a condiment: http://www.food52.com/recipes/12077_chimichurri_aoli_for_soft_shell_crabs_or_argentine_tartar_sauce