Panko-Crusted Soft-Shell Crab with Dim Sum Dipper
Soft-shell crabs are strictly seasonal, one of the few foods that still are. The fact that you can't always have them makes them even more welcome when they do appear in early spring. You can grill them, but to my mind, pan-frying best delivers their spectacular taste and bursting juiciness. This panko-coated version offers those thrills plus an exceptionally crispy crust. Served with a dim sum dipping sauce, these are memorable.
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups Spiced Panko Bread Crumbs
Canola oil, for frying
4 medium soft-shell crabs, cleaned
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 large Belgian endive, cored and sliced 1/8 inch thick
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup Dim Sum Dipper
- Place the flour, eggs, and panko crumbs in 3 separate shallow dishes.
- Heat a large, heavy sauté pan over high heat. Add 1/2 inch of the oil and heat. Meanwhile, season the crabs with salt and pepper. Dredge them in the flour, shaking off the excess. Dip the crabs in the eggs and the panko, and fry, turning once, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove and drain on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl, combine the endive with the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and toss.
- Place a small mound of the salad on each of 4 plates. Halve the crabs and place two halves on each salad portion. Serve with the Dim Sum Dipper.