Soft-Shell Crabs with Lemon Aioli and Sweet Onion
- TOTAL TIME: 40 MIN plus 1 hr marinating
- SERVINGS: 8
"Soft-shell crabs were one of the first things I tasted as a young cook that completely flipped me out," says Paul Kahan. "I couldn't get enough of them." He confesses to going through a phase of stealing one claw from every order of three crabs that he cooked.
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small Vidalia or other sweet onion, cut into thin rings
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups rice flour (see Note)
- 8 soft-shell crabs
- In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar with the shallot and 1/2 cup of the olive oil. Add the onion rings, season with salt and pepper and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the lemon zest and juice. Gradually whisk in 1/4 cup of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate the aioli until chilled.
- In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil until shimmering. Spread the rice flour in a shallow bowl. Lightly dust the soft-shell crabs with rice flour and fry over high heat, turning once, until browned and crisp, 6 to 7 minutes. Drain the fried crabs on paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the marinated onion rings to a serving platter. Top with the fried soft-shell crabs and serve with the lemon aioli.
Serve these sautéed soft shells with glasses of a medium-bodied English pale ale like Boddingtons Pub Ale, which has lightly hoppy aromas and a creamy head.