Soft-Shell Crab Toast

Broiling is perhaps the easiest way to cook soft shell crabs. All you do is oil up the crabs, lay them on a baking sheet and broil them until crisp and bronzed on both sides — under 10 minutes. It’s also one of the tastiest ways to cook them: their edges crisp and char while their bellies swell with sweet, saline juices. Here, the broiled crabs are laid on toast and served as open-faced sandwiches. The toast absorbs the crab juices and also heightens the crunch. If you’re pressed for time, or if you’re a purist, you can skip the parsley jalapeño sauce. A lemon wedge is all you really need to bring out the sweetness of the crab.


  • 2 cups packed Italian parsley leaves
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, more as needed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, more as needed
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
  • 6 (1/2-inch-thick) slices country-style bread or pain de mie
  • 1 large garlic clove, halved and peeled
  • Unsalted butter, as needed (optional)
  • 6 (3-ounce) wild jumbo soft-shelled crabs, cleaned
  • Black pepper, as needed
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  • Nutritional Information
    • Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)

      320 calories; 20 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 13 grams monounsaturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 16 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram dietary fiber; 2 grams sugars; 19 grams protein; 66 milligrams cholesterol; 505 milligrams sodium

    • Note: Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available data.

6 appetizer servings, or 3 main course servings


  1. In a blender, combine parsley, jalapeño, lemon juice and salt. Add oil and 3 tablespoons water. Purée until sauce is smooth, adding additional water if needed, a tablespoon at a time, until you have a thick yet pourable sauce. Transfer sauce to a bowl and add more salt or lemon juice, or both, if needed.
  2. Heat broiler. Place bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Broil, turning once, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Rub toast with cut garlic. Drizzle with oil or slather with butter (butter is nice on pain de mie), remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Lightly coat crabs with oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer, belly side up, to a large baking sheet (you can use the same one you used for the toast). Broil, turning once, until crisp and golden, about 2 minutes per side.
  4. Place one crab on top of each toast. Spoon a generous amount of sauce over each crab and serve with lemon wedges on the side.

20 minutes

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