Soft Shelled Crabs with Charred Corn Salad and Corn Puree

July 30, 2011
3 Ratings
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

There is a great scene in the movie Wedding Crashers where one of the characters screams "crabcakes and football, that's what Maryland does!!!" My friends and I often jokingly say that when we refer to anything with crabs - because by the end of a Maryland summer that's what you've been doing the whole time. I want to modify that movie line to say "crab and corn, that's what Maryland does!" Any form of crab and any form of sweet Eastern shore Silver Queen corn makes the basis for any perfect Maryland summer meal. A few years back I had a dish at a restaurant in Baltimore, Woodberry Kitchen. I didn't write it down but I did take a picture of the dish. For my version I grilled the corn and veggies for the salad and added bacon (which of course makes everything better). My version is definitely different than Woodberry's but I think just as delicious. If you live in an area where you can't get soft shelled crabs, I think this would be great with grilled lobster, seared scallops, or even grilled shrimp. —meganvt01

What You'll Need
  • Corn salad and corn puree
  • 8 cobs of Eastern Shore silver queen corn (or your freshest local variety - in season), husks and silks removed
  • 3 slices thick cut bacon, cut into lardons (1/4 inch sticks)
  • 1 red onion, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 yellow squash, cut into 1/3 inch slices, seeds removed
  • 1 cup mixed tomatoes, cut or chunked -seeds removed. I used a mixture of yellow pear, green zebra, and red grape
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • Soft Shelled Crabs
  • 4 cleaned and dressed soft shelled crabs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  1. Corn salad and corn puree
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy, about 10 minutes. Drain bacon. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat.
  3. Take 4 cobs of corn and cut the kernels off the raw cobs. Add the kernels and the clove of garlic to the bacon fat and saute until cooked, about 8 minutes.
  4. Off the heat, add the milk to the corn/garlic. Place the mixture in a blender and blend well, about 1 minute until very smooth. Season for salt - depends on your bacon, mine needed just a dash, and add pepper.
  5. Heat the grill over medium heat. I used a flat grill basket to place the onion slices and the squash and keep them flat. Splash the onion and squash with olive oil and season with salt. Cook until golden and cooked through, about 10 - 12 minutes.
  6. While the squash and onions are cooking, directly grill the remaining 4 corn cobs over the grill, rolling about every 4 minutes until slightly charred and cooked through.
  7. Slice the tomatoes (you can leave small grapes whole if you want) and place them in a bowl, sprinkling with about 1/4 teaspoon of salt to let some of the juice release. When the corn is cool enough to touch, cut from the cob.
  8. When the corn is cool enough to touch, cut from the cob. Roughly chop the squash and onion. Add corn, squash, onion, bacon, basil, olive oil, and vinegar to the tomatoes and toss to combine. Check for seasoning - it will depend on the saltiness of your bacon and how much you put on the veggies for cooking.
  1. Soft Shelled Crabs
  2. Rinse the crabs and pat dry.
  3. Mix the Old Bay seasoning and flour in a shallow bowl. Place the beaten egg in another, separate, shallow bowl.
  4. Dredge each crab in the egg then into the flour mixture, shaking off the excess and placing it on a plate.
  5. Melt butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium - medium high heat (I use 6 on my stovetop).
  6. Add the crabs and cook on each side 4 - 5 minutes until crispy, golden brown, and delicious.
  7. On a plate, pour half of the corn puree and spread in a circle. Top with 1/3 of corn salad. Place two crabs on top of the salad. Enjoy the salad and the puree as a sauce for the crab.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • LeBec Fin
    LeBec Fin
  • Midge
  • lorigoldsby
  • sexyLAMBCHOPx
  • Lizthechef

Recipe by: meganvt01


14 Reviews

Don May 2, 2018
I used hot version of Old Bay, chive from the garden as I didn't have basil, and fried in grape seed oil for a higher smoke point than olive oil. Sautéed squash, onions , and corn. Found I needed a lot more than 1 Tbsp of milk to create a smooth purée of corn and garlic. Wonderful recipe, great flavors, one to keep.
LeBec F. May 11, 2015
This is a beautiful beautiful dish. A dish made in heaven.
But I would make 2 consessions, both paying due homage to my VA. mother and her 'rules' for a lifetime of soft shells: No Bay Seasoning (sorry; have to keep those delicate creatures plain, so nothing gets in the way of that sweet breeze of a flavor!) And no egg; just plain flour.
But to ME, most important of all is that you know not to ruin these lovelies with deep frying (Horrors!!) As we say up North, "You smaht girl, you!" Can't wait to make this; it's the only softshell recipe in a long lifetime- that I have wanted to make, other than the regular ol' floured- and-sautéd-in-butter, with lots of lemon. Thank You megan. This should absolutely be a Winner!
Midge August 1, 2011
Your recipes always transport me home to Annapolis! btw, that line should've been"crab, corn, and lacrosse" ;)
meganvt01 August 1, 2011
Thanks! Fully agreed - football???
lorigoldsby August 1, 2011
U are so lucky to live in this region...crab, corn AND bacon...surely a holy trinity of food! Will try with scallops which don't lose their flavor in the shipping.
meganvt01 August 1, 2011
I hope it works well with scallops too. I was thinking that lots of proteins would work well - even a grilled chicken breast with some old bay.
singing_baker July 30, 2011
I'm trying this one out this week! It looks delicious.
meganvt01 July 30, 2011
I really hope you enjoy it as much as we did. For a dish with three parts, it is remarkably easy.
sexyLAMBCHOPx July 30, 2011
very appetizing!
meganvt01 July 30, 2011
Thank you!
Lizthechef July 30, 2011
I'd kill for some Maryland soft-shelled crabs. Really.
meganvt01 July 30, 2011
It is a tough local ingredient - sometimes it is hard to even get them here in Annapolis!
EmilyC July 30, 2011
Love soft shell crabs and corn! Your dish looks amazing.
meganvt01 July 30, 2011
Thanks so much Emily!