Crabsolutely fabulous

Make a more interesting Salad with soft-shell crab.

Warmer water at the bottom means soft-shell crab season is here! If you’re looking for a healthy way to enjoy the limited-time-only delicacy, consider this tangy tempura soft-shell crab salad recipe from Long Cove Club executive chef John Soulia. Make it the next time you’re feeling a little crabby.

Long Cove Club – Tempura soft-shell crab salad

(4 servings)

Ingredients (crab)

4 soft-shell crabs, cleaned

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup cornstarch

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Fresh cracked pepper, to taste

2 cups ice water

Vegetable oil, as needed

Directions [1] To prepare the tempura batter, combine all dry ingredients and slowly whisk in the ice water until the consistency is like a thin pancake batter. Refrigerate until ready to use. [2] Using a pair of scissors, trim 1/4 inch behind the eyes of the soft-shell crab off and squeeze out the water pockets. Then lift the top shell on each side and pull off the gills and finally flip the crab over and trim off the bottom tail on the back side of the crab. [3] Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add enough vegetable oil to give you about a 1/4 inch in the bottom of the skillet. Carefully dip the crabs in the tempura batter and drain off excess batter, placing the crab’s top side down into the oil. [4] Let cook for 3-4 minutes until golden brown, turn and cook for 2-3 minutes longer. Remove onto paper towels and season lightly with salt and pepper. To serve, prepare your salads as desired, and drizzle with the chili lime glaze, yuzu vinaigrette, sweet soy and enjoy!

Ingredients (yuzu vinaigrette)

1/4 cup salad oil

2 shallots, rough chopped

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup mirin

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1 cup Yuzu marmalade

2 cups orange juice

1 lime, juice only

2 cups salad oil

Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions [1] Simmer the shallots in the salad oil until tender without browning. [2]  Add the sugar, mirin and vinegar and simmer until reduced by half the volume. [3] Remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients except the 2 cups of salad oil. [4] To finish – stream in the remaining oil in a blender or hand immersion blender and adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Ingredients (chili lime glaze)

1/2 cup Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce

1 lime, juice only

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, lightly chopped

Directions Combine all ingredients in a bowl using a whisk. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Ingredients (salad)

2 heads Hydro Bibb lettuce

Toasted cashews

Pickled red onions

Heirloom cherry tomatoes

Fresh mint leaves

Thai basil leaves

Sweet soy (available at specialty food stores)

Directions Toss all ingredients.

Long Cove Club executive chef John Soulia on soft-shell crabs

Best way to store them
Refrigerate live soft-shell crabs covered with a towel for no more than a day. If you can’t cook them within a day, clean them, wrap them individually in plastic, and freeze them for up to 3 months.

Serving suggestions
Most folks enjoy the sweet flavor of the crabs. I always recommend very light coating to crisp them up and pan-frying vs. deep frying as this will be more delicate. They pair well with light lemon white wine sauces, Cajun remoulade or even a simple refreshing tartar sauce for dipping. They also make an incredible sandwich on a buttery brioche roll with homemade malt vinegar fries as well.

Local source
Depending on when Mother Nature decides, we usually start to see the first crabs available in early April, but this varies on water temperature year to year. Many of the crabs we receive are from Johns Island or Beaufort.



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