Fried Soft-Shell Crabs from Chef John Folse

Prep Time: 45 Minutes

Yields: 6 Servings


As crabs grow they molt, discarding their old shells to make room for new, larger ones. Once the old shell has been shed, the new covering is soft for a couple of hours. Soft-shell crabs were always considered a luxury in New Orleans where they graced the most aristocratic tables. Soft-shell crabs are still a delicacy today and are eaten in many ways, but frying them is definitely the most popular method of preparation.

Ingredients for Batter:

1 cup milk

½ cup water

2 eggs

3 tbsps Creole mustard

salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Method for Batter:

In a 1-quart mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients until well blended. Set aside.

Ingredients for Breading:

2 cups yellow corn flour

2¼ tsps salt

1½ tsps granulated garlic

1½ tsps cracked black pepper

1½ tsps cayenne pepper

1½ tsps thyme

Method for Breading:

In a 1-quart mixing bowl, combine all breading ingredients and mix well. Set aside.

Ingredients for Frying:

6 soft-shell crabs, cleaned

1½ quarts vegetable oil

Method for Frying:

Clean soft-shell crab by picking up end of shell and removing gills on each side with a paring knife. Remove apron from underside of crab and cut away eyes and mouth. Set aside. In a Dutch oven or home-style deep-fryer such as a FryDaddy®, preheat oil to 375°F according to manufacturer's directions. Place soft-shell crabs in batter and marinate 10–15 minutes. Drain excess liquid from crabs and coat well in breading mixture, shaking off excess. Fry one at a time until crab turns golden brown and floats to top of oil. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove crab from oil and drain on paper towels. Serve hot with tartar sauce or cocktail sauce.