Soft-Shell Crab Po’ Boy Sandwich

Soft-shell crabs should be cooked very crisp on the outside, with the centers of the crabs remaining moist and full of juices. They can be sautéed or grilled, but for me, deep-frying gives the most even cooking and the crispest results. If deep-frying makes you nervous, shallow-fry them in 2 inches of hot oil in a heavy 6-inch-deep skillet, just large enough to hold them side by side without touching.

Serve with the coleslaw.

Ingredients

  • 8 small, fresh soft-shell crabs
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2–3 pints peanut oil
  • 1 long baguette (24 inches)
  • 4 tablespoons sweet butter
  • ½ cup rémoulade sauce, made with hot mustard
  • Saltand freshly ground black pepper

Method

Clean the crabs by lifting up the side flaps and pulling off the feathery gills. Remove the flap underneath. Rinse in cold water, then pat the crabs dry with paper towels.

Heat the oil to 375 degrees.

Season the crabs, dust them very lightly with flour, and immediately but carefully put them into the hot oil, slipping them down away from you into the oil so no hot oil splashes up onto your hands. Fry the crabs for 4 minutes, then turn them over and cook 4 minutes more. Lift them out of the oil, placing them on paper towels or a rack to drain for 10 seconds before serving.

While the crabs are frying, cut the bread in half lengthwise without severing the two halves. Put the bread under the broiler until toasted and hot, then butter the bread. Cut across into four 6-inch lengths.

Put 2 crabs on each piece of bread and slather with the rémoulade.

Variation

Use 24 deep-fried oysters instead of the crabs.

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