I really, really love soft-shell crabs. They only come around once a season, when the crabs shed their shell – while they are waiting for a new shell, they are soft, and you can eat them whole without picking the meat out of the hard shell. They will be sold live. Get the fish-monger to “clean” them for you. That’s code for killing them. But at least you don’t have to do it yourself, or even watch. I look forward to this time of year. However, Matt really doesn’t care for crab, and really doesn’t like the texture of soft-shell crabs. So I only do this once per season. These sandwiches came from “BBQ USA” by Steven Raichlen. I loved them!
12 tbs unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
12 soft-shell crabs, cleaned
6 hamburger buns
Old Bay Tartar Sauce (recipe to follow)
6 Boston lettuce leaves
1 ripe tomato, thinly sliced
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, shallot, and Old Bay seasoning and cook until the garlic and shallot have lost their rawness, about 2 minutes. Do not brown them. Set the flavored butter aside.
Set up a grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.
When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Brush the crabs on both sides with some of the flavored butter. Place the soft-shell crabs on the hot grate and grill until cooked through, 2-4 minutes per side, basting with the flavored butter. When done the shells will turn bright red. Brush the hamburger buns with the remaining butter and grill them as well, to toast them.
To serve, slather the buns with Old Bay Tartar Sauce. Place a lettuce leaf, tomato slices, and 2 soft-shell crabs on top. Top with the top bun and serve with remaining tartar sauce on the side.
OLD BAY TARTAR SAUCE
1 cup mayonnaise
1-2 pickled jalapenos, finely chopped
1 tbs drained capers, chopped
1 tbs chopped pickles
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tbs minced chives
1 tbs fresh tarragon or basil, finely chopped
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
Place the mayonnaise, jalapenos, capers, pickles, lemon juice, chives, tarragon, mustard and Old Bay into a large mixing bowl. Whisk to mix. Season with black pepper. Refrigerate if not using immediately. Bring to room temperature before serving.