Soft-Shell Crabs With Creamy Tomato Sauce

Course : Seafoods
Serves: 1
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6 tablespoons olive oil
6 clove garlic -- thinly sliced
6 large shallots -- thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
35 ounces tomatoes -- whole, packed in drained and chopped
1 cup creme fraiche
1 cup flour
8 large soft-shell crabs -- cleaned

Preparation / Directions:

In a large non-reactive skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots are translucent and the garlic begins to brown, 5 to 6 minutes (don't let the garlic get too brown or it will be bitter). Stir in the cumin and celery seeds, red pepper and 1/2 teaspoon each of the salt and black pepper. Cook for 1 minute longer. Stir in the sugar and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer the sauce for 15 minutes. Add the creme fraiche and simmer for 6 minutes longer. Cover and keep warm. (The sauce can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Reheat before serving.) Preheat the oven to 250F On a plate, toss the flour with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper. Pat the crabs dry with paper towels and dredge them in the seasoned flour. In a large skillet, preferably nonstick, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over moderately high heat. Add 4 of the crabs and cook, turning once, until red and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the crabs to a heatproof platter and place in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and 4 crabs. To serve, spoon the tomato sauce onto 4 warmed plates and arrange 2 crabs on the sauce on each plate. Recipe from Food and Wine, June, 1991

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