Corn Flour Crusted Soft Shell Crabs with Heirloom Tomatoes and Lemon Aioli


Servings: 4


For the crabs
  • 8 soft shell crab (prime or hotel size)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 cups corn flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 stick butter
For the tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons vidalia onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chives, chopped
  • 1/4 pound pea tips (or preferred greens)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
For the aioli
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon
  • sea salt, to taste
  • white pepper, to taste


For the crabs
  1. Clean crabs by removing apron, gills and eyes. Marinate crabs in milk with thyme and crushed garlic clove for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours.
  2. Heat olive oil in sauté pan over medium high heat. Season corn flour with salt and pepper and dredge crab one at a time placing into pan belly side down. (It is best to cook in smaller batches) Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes until golden, turn over and add pats of butter. Sauté an additional 2 minutes until golden and heated through. Drain on paper towel.
For the aioli
  1. Prepare the aioli; in blender add egg yolk, a pinch of salt, garlic, water and lemon juice. Blend together at high speed. Continue mixing and slowly add olive oil until thick. Adjust to taste with more lemon juice and salt
For the tomatoes and to serve
  1. Slice tomatoes and arrange on 4 plates, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and reserve at room temperature. In small bowl mix onion and a pinch of salt and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Whisk in remaining oil and lemon juice and reserve. Clean pea tips discarding any large stems.
  2. To plate cut crabs in half from face to back. Arrange 4 halves standing on the cut end. Toss pea tips in lemon olive oil dressing and garnish plate. Drizzle with aioli.

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