Monday, July 18, 2011

Soft Shell Crab Po-Boy with Avocado Remoulade

In a prior post about soft shell crabs, I noted that, as a cook, the months of May through September are special to me.  During this time, fresh soft shell crabs are available at local supermarkets and seafood markets.  On our way back from our Outer Banks vacation, Clare and I bought a dozen jumbo soft shell crabs from Endurance Seafood in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.  While I normally buy soft shell crabs fresh, Endurance Seafood was sold out of fresh soft shell crabs.  All they had left were frozen soft-shell crabs.  Still, I could not pass up the opportunity to buy those frozen crabs because it would provide me with a supply of those delicious crustaceans for experimenting with different dishes. I have previously used two of the jumbo soft-shell crabs as part of my Iron Chef Night: Vidalia Onion cooking experience.  However, my mind still works on recipes that we could make for the remaining soft shells that are sitting comfortably in our freezer.

 One recent recipe that I decided to make was Soft Shell Crab Po-Boys with a Remoulade.  Although I like remoulade sauces, I am not a big fan of mayonnaise, which is usually a principal ingredient in a remoulade.  I cannot say that I avoid mayonnaise altogether, because many people have witnessed me eating a tuna salad or chicken salad sandwich.  However, if I can avoid the ingredient, I will do that, even if it requires additional steps or searching out new ingredients.  Fortunately, I came across a recipe for an Avocado Remoulade.  I made this recipe as a topping for the Soft-Shell Crab Po-Boy Sandwiches and it was a great success.  This recipe will be my go-to whenever I need a remoulade.

On other thing about this recipe, many seafood po-boys involve deep frying the fish or shellfish.  You can certainly deep fry soft shell crabs.  For this recipe, however, I sauteed the soft-shell crabs.  I believe that soft shell crabs taste best when they are lightly dredged with flour and sauteed on a hot pan with butter. This recipe simply reflects my personal preference.  If you want to deep fry the soft-shell crabs, just heat enough oil in a pot or a deep fryer to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Remoulade adapted from Simply Recipes
Serves 2

Ingredients (for the Soft Shell Crabs):
4 soft shell crabs
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of chipotle powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
Salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons of butter
2 small french loaves
1 medium Vidalia onion, sliced
1 heirloom tomato, sliced
Lettuce leaves
French bread (or just any other bread or bun)

Ingredients (for the Avocado Remoulade):
2 avocados, cut, peeled, and cut into large dice
3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of minced shallots
1 tablespoon of flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon of Dijon or other mustard
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

1.  Make the remoulade.  Add the avocado and lime juice in a food processor.  Pulse until blended.  Slowly add olive oil, pulsing until you get the desired consistency.  Add minced shallots and parsley and continue to pulse until combined.  I pulsed it a little more to maintain the consistency that I wanted, but you do not have to do that.  Remove the sauce to a bowl, add the mustard, salt and taste and stir until incorporated.

2.  Prepare the soft shell crabs.  After washing the soft shell crabs, dry them and set them aside. Spread the flour on a plate and add the spices to the flour.  Mix the spices to make sure that they are incorporated throughout the flour.  Dredge the soft shell crabs in the flour and shake off the excess flour.

3.  Saute the soft shell crabs.  Heat the three tablespoons of butter on medium high heat.  Once the butter is melted, add the soft shells carefully, shell side down.  Let the soft shell crabs cook for about four to five minutes, then flip the crabs.  Cook for about three to five minutes more.  Remove the crabs.  

4.  Plate the dish.  Construct the po-boy sandwiches by first cutting the bread in half and slicing down the side.  Spread some of the remoulade on both sides of the bread.  Place the soft shells on the bread and top with sliced onions, heirloom tomatoes and lettuce.  Then add a nice heaping spoonful of the remoulade on top.  Serve immediately.


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