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