Clean soft shell crab by removing the gills and the eyes. Season 3 to 4 ounces of all purpose flour with salt and pepper to taste, remembering that crab have a certain amount of salt. I also like to add cayenne pepper for spice. Then, dredge the cleaned crab in flour, making sure to pat off all excess. In a saucepan with 3 ounces of whole butter, cook crab on medium heat until golden brown on both sides. Arrange Asian greens on a plate. In a saucepan melt 2 ounces of butter. Add fennel, white wine, lobster stock, tomato paste, and saffron. Cook uncovered until reduced to a glaze. Remove fennel with a slotted spoon and place on the salad.
Make remaining liquid into a vinaigrette by adding vinegar and Pernod then slowly whisk in olive oil. Drizzle vinaigrette on salad until dressed. Then place hot, crisp crab on salad. Garnish with fried fennel tops.
Recipe Courtesy of John Tesar