Soft Shell Crab "Piccata"

Total Time:
35 min
20 min
15 min

4 servings

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
  • 4 softshell crabs, cleaned
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

In a shallow bowl combine the flour and Essence and stir to combine. Season the crabs lightly with salt and black pepper. Quickly dredge the crabs in the seasoned flour mixture, shaking to remove any excess flour.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Place enough oil in a large skillet to cover the bottom of the pan. Heat over medium-high heat until very hot. When the oil gets very hot, but not smoking, add the crabs, in batches if necessary, and cook until crispy and golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain briefly, then place on a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you finish the sauce. Repeat with the remaining crabs, if necessary. Once the crabs are cooked, carefully pour off any oil remaining in the pan and add the butter to the browned drippings. When the butter has melted and is light golden brown around the edges of the pan, add the lemon juice, scraping to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. When the juice has reduced by half, about 1 minute, add the chicken broth and capers and cook for 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened.

Season, to taste, with salt and pepper and add the parsley. Remove from heat and transfer crabs to a platter or to individual plates and pour sauce over crabs. Serve immediately.

Emeril’s Creole Seasoning (Essence):

Recipe from New New Orleans Cooking by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, Published by William and Morrow, 1993.

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

Yield: about 2/3 cup

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