Tempura-Fried Soft-Shell Crab Sandwiches with Tartar Sauce Slaw and Crispy Old Bay Chips

Total Time:
1 hr 15 min
25 min
30 min
20 min

4 sandwiches

  • Tartar Sauce Slaw:
  • 1/2 cup finely diced cornichons
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Pinch sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 Spanish onion, grated
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 small head white cabbage, shredded
  • Old Bay Potato Chips:
  • 1 bag potato chips, such as Lay's or Kettle
  • 1 tablespoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay
  • Soft-Shell Crabs:
  • Canola oil, for deep-frying
  • 3 cups rice flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Few dashes hot sauce, optional
  • 4 soft-shell crabs, cleaned
  • Sandwiches:
  • 4 soft potato buns
  • 2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • For the tartar sauce slaw: Whisk together the cornichons, mayonnaise, capers, mustard, sugar, lemon juice, onion and some salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the cabbage and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  • For the Old Bay potato chips: Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Spread the potato chips in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake, just to warm, 2 minutes. Put the Old Bay in a small mesh strainer and tap evenly over the chips; toss the chips lightly.

  • For the soft-shell crabs: Set a rack in a baking sheet. Heat 3 to 4 inches of oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until it registers 375 degrees F on a deep-frying thermometer. Whisk together 2 cups of the rice flour and 2 cups water until smooth, then season with salt and pepper and some hot sauce if using.

  • Put the remaining 1 cup rice flour in a shallow dish and season with some salt and pepper. Sprinkle the crabs with salt and pepper.

  • Dredge 2 crabs in flour and tap off the excess. Dip in the tempura batter, letting any excess run off. Fry until golden brown, crispy and just cooked through, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain on the rack. Repeat with the remaining 2 crabs.

  • For the sandwiches: Put some of the slaw on the bottom of each bun and top with a fried crab. Add a bit more slaw and a tomato slice and top with chips. Close sandwiches with the tops of the buns and serve immediately.

  • Special equipment: a deep-frying thermometer

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