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
Note: Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available data.
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
6 appetizer servings, or 3 main course servings
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.