• 4 large soft shell crabs (see hints below)
• 1/2 cup buttermilk (or regular milk)
• 1 large egg
• 1/2 cup cornmeal
• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
• 2-3 Tbs vegetable oil for sauteing crabs (or more as needed)
for the butter:
• 6 Tbs butter, room temperature (salted butter is good in this case)
• 1/3 cup chopped scallions
• 1 Tbs lemon zest
• 1 Tbs Tabasco (or more to taste)
Make the butter a bit ahead of time by combining 6 Tbs room temperature butter with 1/3 cup chopped scallions and a generous 1 Tbs lemon zest and a generous 1 Tbs Tabasco and mashing it together.
Set that aside and then set up a dredging station by combining 1/2 cup buttermilk with 1 large egg and beating that together in a shallow bowl. And then, in another shallow bowl, combining 1/2 cup all-purpose flour with 1/2 cup cornmeal and whisking that together.
Then dredge all of the soft shells in the flour mixture, and then dredge them one at a time in the buttermilk-egg mixture and then again in the flour mixture, placing them on a clean plate as you go.
To cook the crabs, add 2-3 Tbs of vegetable oil to a large nonstick pan on medium high heat and cook the crabs about 4-5 minutes per side, adding oil and adjusting the heat a little bit if you need to.
At that point, serve them up while they're still nice and hot with a dollop of butter right on top.
Plan ahead and serve this with a simple potato salad on the side.
You can usually buy fresh soft shell crabs in the months of May and June and you can have your fish monger clean them up and remove the inedible parts for you so they're ready to cook when you get home.