Goodstone Inn & Restaurant, Loudoun County, Chesapeake Soft Shell Crabs

Learn how to prepare soft shell crabs from an expert--Chef William Walden of the Goodstone Inn & Restaurant who has brought in numerous awards, including “Top 100 Best Overall Restaurants in the USA 2011″ in the OpenTable's Diners' Choice Awards.

Servings: 4

Cook Time: 1 1/4 hours

Pair With: A golden, buttery Chardonnay.

Source: Recipe and photo courtesy Chef William Walden, The Goodstone Inn & Restaurant, Loudoun County, VA.


Ingredients For the Whole Grain Mustard Sauce:
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick chilled butter, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients For the Broccoli Rabe:
2 cups fresh broccoli rabbi (from garden or farmer's market)
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients For the Crabs:
4 fresh Chesapeake soft shell crabs (swimming and alive)
Toasted almond flour for dredging - about 2 cups
*1 cup Maryland jumbo lump crab meat for stuffing (optional) If using lump crab, you will also need:

  • 4 tablespoons browned butter
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, minced
  • pinch salt and pepper



Directions For the Whole Grain Mustard Sauce:
In a saucepan, reduce the white wine, shallots and champagne vinegar over medium heat for a few minutes.  Add the heavy cream and reduce by half.  Remove from heat and whisk in the chilled butter.  Mix in whole grain mustard, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm while you prepare the rest of the dish.

Directions For the Broccoli Rabe:
Blanch in boiling salt water for 30 seconds and shock in ice water.  Drain thoroughly!  In a fiery hot skillet, stir fry with the garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Remove at once onto two serving plates as a bed for the crabs.

Directions For the Crabs:
Snip and clean the crabs and remove the lungs.  Set aside on a dry towel to absorb excess moisture.  

*If using the lump crab for stuffing: carefully clean the jumbo lump crabmeat, discarding any shells.  Quickly sauté the crabmeat in a little brown butter with shallots and a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Set aside.

Dredge the crabs in the toasted almond flour and sauté them in a skillet until just cooked, turning only once.  Carefully lift the top shell of each crab and stuff with the sautéed crabmeat.  

Organize the crabs on their bed of broccoli rabe and top with the sauce.  Bon appetit!


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