Before we head off for a Saturday full of fun – I’m finally going to get a chance to check out this Cleveland Flea thing Jessica has been bragging about – I wanted to share with you what we did with that soft shell crab we bought on our New York trip (from the Lobster Place in Chelsea Market!).
One of the reasons I love soft shell crab is because it’s one of the only crabs you can eat shell and all (a soft shell crab is one that’s recently molted and its new shell hasn’t hardened yet). I don’t like to play with my food when I eat, so for something like crab legs, it takes too long to get to the goodies. Soft shell crab, though, you just eat it and love it, super crabby. I also love them because you can make them super crisp.
Oddly enough, my first experience with soft shell crab involved second degree burns. The crabs were partially frozen and after I dredged them in flour, I was putting them in the pan but when I reached out to put the next one in, the frozen water inside melted, hit the hot grease, and sprayed straight up and hit me… so that was fun. But I still love soft shell crab.
For this dish, I wanted to do a fried crab sandwich and top it off with sautéed green tomatoes, a nice, sturdy romaine, and a fig remoulade. We used sesame seed buns that were crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. The sesame seeds added a little bit of additional flavor that went really well with the dish, almost like the ingredient that would have been missing otherwise.
Last but not least, we enjoyed some homemade French fries. I used a new white potato and did them traditional French fry style – blanche at 250, fry at 375, toss in salt. Overall, it was really delicious and just the kind of sandwich I was hoping for.
For the dredge:
½ cup cornstarch
¼ cup flour
1 Tbsp old bay
¼ tsp cumin
½ tsp smoked paprika
2 pinches of salt
¼ tsp coarse ground black pepper
For the fig remoulade:
3 fresh mission figs (stemmed)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
½ dried chipotle pepper (reconstituted)
1 Tbsp honey
Pinch of salt
1 cup Vegenaise
4 Tbsp pickles (chopped)
Puree all of the ingredients (except for the Vegenaise and pickles) in a food processor until smooth. Once you get that lovely bright pink mix, carefully fold in your remaining ingredients with a rubber spatula. One of the reasons you can’t throw the Vegenaise in the food processor is because it doesn’t hold up like a regular mayonnaise would; if you overmix, it becomes watery and/or runny and makes a not-so-nice sauce.
From there, just assemble your sandwich and enjoy!