For the softshells: To clean, remove the tail, gills, and eyes. Season with salt and pepper. For the tempura batter: Whisk all the ingredients resulting in a smooth batter. Season with salt and pepper. Dip the softshell into the tempura batter, shaking off any excess. Remove the basket from the fryer.
First, carefully holding the top of the softshell, drag the legs through the oil first, for 1 minute. This will allow the individual legs to fry separately instead together. Then lay the softshell, top side down, into the oil. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden, flip the softshell over and continue frying for additional 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the fryer and allow to drain on a paper-lined plate.
To assemble, toss the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Mound the salad in the center of the platter. Arrange the softshell around the salad. Drizzle the gastrique over the entire platter. Garnish with the chopped peanuts, chopped chives, Essence, and long chives.
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.