Parmesan-Crusted Soft-Shell Crab Sandwiches

Course : Seafoods
Serves: 8
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2 cups flour
1 cup parmesan -- grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 large egg -- lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
1 cup mayonnaise
1 medium lemon -- juiced
1 medium lemon -- finely , zest of
1/2 teaspoon garlic -- minced
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil -- extra-virgin
1 cup oil -- for frying
8 large soft-shell crabs -- cleaned
8 pieces rolls -- hard, halved
2 medium tomatoes -- thinly sliced
2 bunches arugula -- large stems

Preparation / Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour with the Parmesan, salt and pepper. Make a well in the center and add the eggs and 1/4 cup of water. Beat the eggs and water together and gradually incorporate the flour mixture to form a smooth batter. Add 1/8 teaspoon of the Tabasco and set aside to rest for 30 minutes. In another bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, thyme, olive oil and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon Tabasco. Whisk to blend and set aside for at least 30 minutes. (The recipe can be prepared to this point up to 1 day ahead. Refrigerate the batter and mayonnaise. If the batter becomes very thick, thin it out with a little water.) Preheat the oven to 250F In a large skillet, heat the peanut oil over moderately high heat to 350F Dredge the crabs in the remaining 1 cup flour and shake off the excess. Dip 4 of the crabs in the batter, let some of the batter drip off, and then fry them in the skillet, turning once, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels, place on a heatproof platter and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the 4 remaining crabs. Scoop out some of the bread from the center of the rolls to hollow them slightly. Spread 2 heaping teaspoons of the mayonnaise on each half. Assemble the sandwiches by placing 2 or 3 slices of tomato and 4 or 5 arugula leaves on the bottom half of each roll. Set the fried crabs on top and close the sandwiches. Serve immediately. Recipe from Food and Wine, June, 1991.

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