Cornmeal Crusted Soft Shell Crab with Buttermilk Apple and Chive Coleslaw

This remarkably quick meal is a colorful and crunchy way to use the insanely good soft shell crabs that are coming into season right now.  I made this for my husband and I a few nights ago, and was so pleased with the speed to wow ratio.  But in addition it was so so so good that we craved the exact same thing for dinner the following night with the extra crabs I bought to photograph for the blog.

Though the crabs need to be served immediately after pan-frying, they take just minutes, and so still could be a great alternative for a small group BBQ, turning out crabs as you would burgers off the grill.  You can also skip the rolls and just serve them atop a salad of greens and slaw.

I also highly recommend trying the same recipe using thick green tomato slices in place of the crabs later in the summer.  Oh, how I love cooking during these months...


Cornmeal Crusted Soft Shell Crab with Buttermilk Apple and Chive Coleslaw
by Catie Schwalb

Serves 4

4 soft shell crabs, cleaned

1 packed cup purple cabbage, sliced very thin
1 cup green apple, about half a large apple, julienne or shredded
1/4 cup chives, finely minced
1 cup carrot, about 2 medium, shredded
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/8 tsp sugar (small pinch)

2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp smoked sweet paprika or pimenton
1/2 tsp salt

4 soft rolls, or 8 brioche slices, lightly toasted
about 2 loose cups salad greens for sandwiches, baby romaine, mesclun, watercress or arugula

canola or peanut oil to come up to 1" in frying pan.

Whisk together buttermilk, cider vinegar, celery salt, and sugar.

In a medium bowl, combine cabbage, apple, chives and carrot.  Toss with buttermilk dressing and refrigerate.

Whisk together milk and eggs in a pie plate or low bowl.  Combine cornmeal, flour, paprika and salt in a separate pie plate or bowl.

Toast rolls and keep warm in a low temperature oven.

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan to 325 F, or until a pinch of the cornmeal mixture sizzles rapidly when sprinkled in.

Coat crab in the egg mixture, and then the cornmeal mixture, shaking off any excess.  Gently lay them, going away from you, in the pan of oil.   Fry until golden brown, about three minutes per side.  Lower heat if browning too quickly.  Remove from oil and drain on several layers of paper towels.

Put greens on the toasted rolls, top with a soft shell crab, and then a large spoonful of coleslaw.  Serve immediately.




2 responses to “Cornmeal Crusted Soft Shell Crab with Buttermilk Apple and Chive Coleslaw”

  1. Morgan says:

    Ah! I just saw some beautiful, lively softshell crabs at my fish market today and thought to myself, “man I really need to come back here to make something with these soon.” I am so making these sandwiches next week!

  2. […] Live, the blog of Gourmet Magazine featured my Cornmeal Crusted Soft Shell Crab recipe as its Image of the Week. […]

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Catie Baumer Schwalb is a chef, food writer and photographer, who splits her life between the city and the country. Not too long ago Catie was a New York City based actress and playwright for more than a decade. She has her Master of Fine Arts from the National Theater Conservatory, and her Grand Diplôme in classic culinary arts from the French Culinary Institute in New York City. ... Read More

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