A Daily Dinner: Soft-Shell Crabs with Spring Greens
Along with ramps, soft-shell crabs are another favorite spring delicacy. Delicious even when pan-fried with just a dab of butter and tossed with pasta, these meaty, sweet crustaceans are worth seeking out.
When I got two of the season’s first crabs the other day, I wanted nothing more than to batter them and fry them with little accoutrement. They’re so flavorful that they hardly need it. After soaking the crabs in buttermilk for about 30 minutes (it help them absorb even more flavor), I coated them in a mixture of flour, salt, and pepper, and pan-fried them for just a few minutes, until they were golden.
The crabs were the inspiration for the meal, but the star ended up being a salad of simple spring greens, dressed with a homemade avocado vinaigrette. If you only do one thing this weekend, you have to make this dressing.
Trek out to the greenmarket and gather up a big bag of spring’s tender first greens—mizuna, lamb’s quarters, watercress, frisee, baby spinach, etc. Anything goes and you won’t regret having variety.
Spring Greens with Avocado Vinaigrette
1/2 avocado, pitted
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
6 c. mixed spring greens
1. In a blender or food processor, blend avocado, buttermilk, vinegar, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper until smooth.
2. Drizzle the greens with the dressing.
With the piping hot crab on top of the salad, the whole meal was a light, refreshing taste of spring. If you wanted to turn the meal into a vegetarian dish, the greens and dressing could be tossed with barley, quinoa or couscous for a more filling salad.