It’s the week before the Fourth of July, so it’s time to start figuring out what you’re going to cook for the festivities! May I suggest that you go for a seafood theme, the centerpiece of which being these tasty cornmeal crusted (and fried, of course) soft shell crab sandwiches, topped with a cool cucumber salad? The combination really is fantastic, with the crabs being wonderfully crisp with just a hint of spice from the seasonings they were dipped in, and while the salad adds a refreshing element to the whole dish, making it perfect for a casual summer get together. You can serve these up on a nice brioche bun, or for those of you who want to indulge during the holiday while still watching what you eat, a bed of mixed greens works beautifully, too! If you’re hesitant to fry, don’t worry – you only need about an inch or so of oil to get going with these, so you don’t have to worry about deep frying anything. See? You have no excuses. While everyone else is doing the same burgers and hot dogs, your guests will be able to enjoy something completely different, and possibly even more delicious!
What you’ll need for your cool cucumber salad.
Thinly slice your cucumber and shallot.
Sprinkle with the vinegar, sugar, and red pepper flakes.
Toss until the sugar dissolves and set aside until ready to use.
What you’ll need for your soft shell crabs.
Whisk together your eggs and milk.
In a separate bowl, mix together your flour, cornmeal, and spices.
Dip your crabs first in the egg, then in the cornmeal, then again in the egg, then again in the cornmeal.
Heat your oil to 325 degrees F, then fry the crabs on each side for about 4 minutes, until golden.
Serve on top of a bun with the cucumber salad and some mustard, mayo, or Sriracha!
- 1 large cucumber, sliced in half lengthwise, then sliced thinly
- 1 large shallot, sliced thinly
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 soft shell crabs, cleaned
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup cornmeal
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
- canola or vegetable oil for frying (you want it to be about 1 inch deep in your pan)
- 4 buns or rolls, for serving the crabs on
- mayonnaise, mustard, Sriracha, lettuce, tomato, green onions (for serving)
- Peel the cucumber and slice it half, then slice thinly lengthwise, otherwise known as a julienne cut. Place the cucumbers in a bowl, then add the thinly sliced shallots. Pour the vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper flakes over everything, and toss until the sugar has dissolved. Store in the fridge until ready to serve on top of the soft shell crabs. This is also delicious eaten on its own, and will keep well in an air-tight container for 24 hours.
- Whisk together the eggs and milk in a shallow dish, such as a pie tin, and set aside. In another shallow dish, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, and ground mustard.
- Pour about an inch deep worth of oil in your heavy bottomed pot or pan, and heat the oil to about 325 degrees F. Dip the crab in the egg mixture, then in the cornmeal, then again in the egg, then again in the cornmeal, to be sure you have the crabs well coated. Gently place the crabs in the oil, and fry until golden, about 3-4 minutes per side, until cooked through. Move the crabs to a plate lined with paper towels to drain for a minute or so, and serve on buns topped with the cucumber salad.