Soft Shelled Crab Sandwiches

I had been working myself up for this weekend since December. I found out my long lost second cousin Mark was coming to Annapolis with his lovely lady, Melanie….to visit ME! I was so excited…I hadn’t seen Mark in 40 years! Yup! (Don’t do the math please.) They were coming from north of Sacramento and, given that I have a nasty habit of complicating things, we decided we’d sail up to Baltimore. They’d never been there before. So with an icebox full of Californian wines and 4 freshly cleaned soft shelled crabs, we headed north under clear skies and 15 knots of wind.

Aren’t these some beauties? You can clean them yourself but I had these cleaned (gills removed and faces snipped off…. I know, it sounds disgusting.) at Annapolis Seafood Market. They do a great job!

Retaining the same blue color, you can see that these crabs have recently molted by the dents and folds of their shelled. Their shells are soft, pliable, and edible now.

For those of you who follow Galley Pirates, you might remember we posted Soft Shelled Crabs Benediction last summer. This recipe uses basically the same ingredients as Benediction but we are adding my co-pirate’s zesty remoulade sauce to the sandwiches.

Not Your Average Remoulade

For a print-friendly recipe see below.

2 tablespoons creole mustard
1-2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon horseradish
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup tarragon vinegar
1 1/4 cups olive oil
6-7 scallions
4-5 stalks celery hearts and leaves
1/3 cup parsley

In a hand cranked food processor (as you can see by the duct tape, my food processor has seen better days. But the duct tape, as all sailors know, is holding well!)  grind up the first 8 ingredients until as smooth as you can get it. Transfer to a bowl. Next chop the celery stalks and scallions into 2″ chunks and add to the food processor. Grind those down into tiny pieces as well. Blend all of it together. For a more detailed list of steps check out Shrimp Remoulade. This can be made days ahead. The longer it sits the better the flavors blend. (note: I was out of Paprika …BAD Pirate!! so the color of my remoulade is not nearly as red as Kristin’s. It tasted great none the less.)

Set aside and start your soft shelled crab preparation.

Sautéd Soft Shelled Crabs

For a print-friendly recipe see below.

4 cleaned soft shelled crabs (faces and gills removed)
6 cups Canola Oil

1 cup flour
1/2 cup self-rising corn meal
3 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons thyme
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

1/3 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons water

Mix all of the breading ingredients together in a shallow pan. Mix all of the egg wash ingredients together in another shallow pan.

Heat up the canola oil in a large pot. Vegetable oil works as well, but not olive oil. Your oil will be at the right temperature when you drop in a little flour and it immediately sizzles. Or you can use a thermometer, which I don’t have on board (375º). Another trick is to float a popcorn kernel in the oil. When it pops, it’s about 350º. Dredge one crab at a time, first in the flour mixture, then in the egg mixture, then back to the flour mixture. Shake excess off, make sure the legs aren’t stuck together, and carefully place in the hot oil.

Fry for 2 minutes, turn over with tongs and fry for another 2-3 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.

We just passed under the Bay Bridge. Here are Mark and Melanie after a couple Dark ‘n Stormies waiting for their Soft Shelled Crab Sandwiches. Life on the Chesapeake…

Yum! I happened to find Pretzel Buns which worked great for these soft shelled crabs. Slip in one crab per bun and top with remoulade sauce. Serve with beer or any beverage of your choice.

Melanie shows off her sandwich before she devoured the entire thing. I was impressed! More of the weekend’s Baltimore adventures can be found on the Kalamarakia post.


One thought on “Soft Shelled Crab Sandwiches

  1. Yummy recipe, lovely pictures and family story from a Galley Pirate who married into the Canadian version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding

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