Crustacean cravings

I am in love. We have a new market nearby and it is 90,000 square feet of heaven. Fairway (for all you NYers, former NYers or wannabe NYers) just opened a mammoth store on the edge of Pelham Manor. It is truly the most incredible grocery I have ever seen. It has every possible gourmet item that you could think of along with most regular grocery items. There are probably 25 different types of olive oil and every possible spice. There is a baking aisle like no other. There is gourmet meat and incredible seafood. There is a deli that dwarfs what ever else you have seen; and, oh yeah, there is a crazily good gourmet cheese shop. In the case of yogurt, there are as many as 100 types. In short, it is a fabulous place for a foodie like me. It is one stop shopping for a dinner party and my family and boy, do I love that!

So, the other day I was at this fabulous market when I saw beautiful soft shell crabs the size of my hand. I hesitated. I had come in with a plan, these were not on the plan. So, I did what I never do in situations like this- I walked away. I told myself that they would be there later in the week. And oh, how I regretted that choice the second I made it. Those soft shell crabs haunted me and reeked havoc with my dinner that night and for the next two. I wanted nothing else and literally pined for the crabs. I thought about them as I cooked, ate, did the dishes, slept, drove carpools.

Three long days later I found myself back at Fairway searching for the soft shell wonders, but, they were nowhere to be found. They had sold out that morning and would not have more until the late afternoon. I was devastated and more determined than ever to quench this crustacean craving. If Fairway didn’t have the crabs, I was sure that Citarella would. I got in my car and I drove into the city. This itch would be scratched!

Citarella delivered and how! I bought beautiful crabs and could barely contain myself until dinner. I rolled all the options around in my brain- truth be told, I’d already been doing this for several days. I finally settled on a plan and got down to the nitty-gritty of making it happen. For dinner I created a Tempura Crab Arugula Salad. It was pretty on the plate-beautiful, actually-but how would it taste? I knew was really good when Tad said after two bites, “Yum! Wow, this is fabulous and completely blog worthy!” So, here you go!

Tempura Crab Arugula Salad –Serves 4 as a main course, 8 as a starter

For the Salad:
1-2 bunch Arugula, washed and roughly chopped
1 red pepper, charred, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno, charred, peeled, seeded and diced
1 red small red onion, chopped
3/4 c. cilantro leaves, chopped
3 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, chopped
Mix together and set aside.

For the dressing:
1 c. olive oil
½ c. fresh lemon juice
5 cloves garlic, minced.
Mix together. Note- you will not need all the dressing- save what is left for another meal!

For the Crabs:

8 soft shell crabs, cleaned (have the fish monger do this for you)
Milk- enough to cover the crabs
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 c flour
2 qts- vegetable oil

About an hour before you plan to cook the crabs, place them in a dish with the milk and let them soak, covered in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook them.

Heat the oil in a large pot until 375.

Season the flour with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the crabs in the flour then dip them in the eggs and finally coat them in panko.

Deep fry the crabs two at a time, turning half way until golden on both sides- about 5 minutes. Be careful to watch for popping. Drain the crabs on paper towels and let the oil heat to 375 again before placing the next two crabs in.

Dress the salad.

Place a large amount of salad on the plate and top with one or two crabs. Serve immediately.



  1. Lisa Fitz
    Posted May 5, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Yum! Sounds fantastic. I usually use canola oil for deep frying. Which oil did you use?

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