Soft-Shell Crab with Lemon Butter

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  • 4 jumbo soft-shell crabs (4 ounces each)

For the buttermilk wash:

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg

For the coating:

  • 13 cup flour
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch salt
  • 18 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 18 teaspoon paprika

For the crabs:

  • 14 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 14 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the garnish:

  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • Parsley sprigs


  1. If the crabs are not cleaned, remove the feelers underneath the shells on both sides. Wash the crabs and dry carefully.
  2. Combine the buttermilk and egg in a shallow container and whisk to combine.
  3. Combine the flour, pepper, salt, cayenne and paprika in a shallow medium dish; mix well.
  4. Place the vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat.
  5. Dip each crab into the buttermilk wash and then dredge in the flour mixture until well-coated.
  6. Place the crabs in the skillet, top side down, and saute for about 3 minutes per side, turning once. When they have finished cooking and are pink in color, remove to a side platter and loosely cover with foil.
  7. Heat the butter in the skillet over medium heat. Saute the shallots for about 1 minute or until slightly softened. Add the lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Arrange the crabs on serving plates, drizzle over the sauce (or serve on the side) and garnish with lemon and parsley. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings as a main course or 4 as a first course.


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