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Soft-Shell Crab Toasts
© Madeleine Hill

Soft-Shell Crab Toasts


Each year, Andrew Zimmern sets his culinary calendar for the soft-shell crab season and eats them as often as he can. Serving the crabs as an open-face sandwich, with a simple lemony herb dressing on top, remains one of his favorite treatments.


  1. Four 1/2-inch-thick slices of country boule, toasted
  2. 1/2 stick unsalted butter, plus softened butter for brushing
  3. 1 large tomato, cut into 8 thin slices
  4. Salt
  5. Pepper
  6. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  7. 8 medium to large soft-shell crabs, cleaned and patted dry
  8. 1 shallot, minced
  9. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  10. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  11. 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  12. 2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon
  13. 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  14. 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  1. Brush the toast with softened butter and transfer to 4 plates. Arrange two slices of tomato on each slice of bread and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Spread the flour in a shallow bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, melt the 1/2 stick of butter. Dredge 4 of the crabs in the flour and add to the skillet. Cook over moderately high heat until browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Flip the crabs and cook until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes longer. Stack 2 crabs on each toast. Repeat with the remaining crabs.
  3. Add the shallot to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 1 minute. Stir in the remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the crabs and serve right away.