Soft Shell Crab Sandwiches
This pan-fried soft shell crab sandwich is a nod to classic east coast seafood. The toppings play a supporting role letting the soft-shell crab shine, just as it should.
Here at Sizzlefish, our soft-shell blue crabs are packed individually in vacuum-sealed packages with 2 crabs per pack. Sizzlefish crabs arrive cleaned and ready to cook. Thaw the crab in refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight. We source our crab from the Chesapeake Bay's Eastern Shore.
What gives soft shell crabs their name is an art practiced by local watermen for generations in which crabs are caught within 12 hours of shedding. During this period when the shells are very soft the crab can be cooked and eaten whole, claw to claw.
Before frying in a shallow amount of oil, crab is coated in bay seasoned flour, dipped in an egg, milk, and hot sauce mixture and once again coated in flour. Twice dredging the crab helps the batter stay in place while frying. Old bay seasoning is popular especially in eastern coastal cuisine when seasoning just about any type of seafood. It has a complex flavor with celery salt and paprika making up the base along with notes of mustard and bay leaf.
Once the oil is shimmering hot, the crabs fry until golden brown and crispy, only needing 3 minutes on each side. A neutral flavored oil with a high smoke point like vegetable or canola oil work great.
When it comes to toppings, we kept things classic and simple with creamy mayonnaise on the bottom bun, crisp lettuce, tomatoes and tangy dill pickles. A large Kaiser roll works great for holding the size of the crab, but any large roll or hamburger bun will do the trick.
Other great toppings include:
- Pickled vegetables or jalapeños
- Chipotle mayonnaise
- Tartar sauce
2 soft shell crabs, thawed
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp old bay seasoning
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 2 tbsp hot sauce (optional)
- Vegetable oil
- 2 large Kaiser rolls or hamburger buns
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- Leafy lettuce
- Sliced tomatoes
- Sliced dill pickles
Pat excess moisture from crabs with paper towel.
In a large shallow bowl, stir together flour and old bay seasoning. In a separate shallow bowl, whisk eggs, milk and hot sauce.
Begin heating a ½-inch of oil in a large frying or sauté pan until shimmering.
While oil heats, coat crab in flour mixture shaking off excess, then dip in the egg mixture allowing excess to run back into bowl. Dredge once more in flour. Set on a plate and repeat with the other crab.
- Carefully place crabs in hot oil using tongs and fry for 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Set on a paper towel lined plate to soak up oil.
- Spread mayonnaise on the bottom of each roll. Top with lettuce, tomato, pickles and crab. Enjoy right away.