Soft-shell Crabs with Broccoli Rabe and Sun-dried Tomato Pesto: Molecche con Rapini

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

4 servings

  • 1 pound broccoli rabe, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed)
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 scallions or small spring onions, root ends trimmed and sliced
  • 1/2 cup sweet red vermouth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 12 small ("prime") soft-shell crabs
  • Preheat the grill.

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath. Trim away the bottom inch of the broccoli rabe stems. Blanch the broccoli rabe in the boiling water for 1 minute, then drain and plunge into the ice bath to cool. Drain again, pat dry, and cut into 1-inch pieces.

  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, soak the sun-dried tomatoes in the boiling water for 10 minutes.

  • In a 10 to 12-inch saute pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat until just smoking. Toss in the scallions and cook, stirring often, until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe and vermouth and cook until the scallions are quite soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

  • In a blender, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, with their soaking water, the vinegar, capers, and the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Set aside.

  • To clean the soft-shell crabs, cut off the eyes and mouth. Season with black pepper. Grill, turning once, until crisp and red, about 5 minutes on each side.

  • Divide the broccoli rabe mixture among 4 plates. Place 3 crabs on each plate, drip 2 tablespoons of the sun-dried tomato pesto around the crabs, and serve immediately.

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