Soft Shell Crabs with Burnt Butter

4607298883 2e1606ba0d oIn the mist of my whirlwind move I have been cooking up a storm but taking photos of what I have cooked has been a bit challenging, and in the blog world, if you do not take a picture of it did you really cook it? A new client has forced me into the kitchen with my camera and it is nice to be in the cooking AND photo-taking grove once again. One of the nicest things about Sunnyside, Queens is all the new and exciting seafood, ethnic spices and produce I have at my disposal. I am still trying to figure out my way around, and am still searching for the most frugal and sustainable options but one discovery I have made is a cute seafood store on Queens Boulevard. There are a lot of options and one that really made me happy is it’s positively fresh (and in season) soft shell crab.

Soft shell crab is something that I have always loved but freshness is key. This is true of any seafood, and I have found that anyone who claims to “hate” fish have only eaten fish that is not fresh and has a distinctly fishy flavor. Seafood and fish should taste like the ocean and not be at all “fishy.” Thankfully, the crabs were still alive and I could clean them myself assuring that they would be fantastically fresh.

I have been going to El Quijote Bar & Restaurant since I was a kid: first with my grandmother and now my sisters. It is a Chelsea institution and located in the Chelsea Hotel and was a popular spot for post gallery opening dinners. I do not think it is as popular as it once was but it will always have a nostalgic value for me. Their simple home-style Spanish fare is delicious and comforting. Their soft shell crabs are my favorite and are simply prepared. Dredged in flour and sautéed in butter. So good. Saffron or curried rice really go well with this dish.

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Soft Shell Crabs with Burnt Butter


  • 2-3 tablespoons potato starch*
  • 2 soft shell crabs(as fresh as possible)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • sea salt


  1. To clean the soft shell crabs cut of the head with kitchen sheers or a knife.You want to cut off the eyes but not much more of the head.
  2. Rinse in water and dredge in potato flour.
  3. In a good heavy skillet at a medium high heat melt the butter and olive oil together.
  4. Melt until clear and very hot. Lower heat to medium.
  5. Add the soft shell crabs, cook them for 2-3 minutes on each side. You want them to become golden and crispy.
  6. Serve immediately and pour the melted butter over the soft shell crab.
  7. Season with coarse sea salt.
  8. Enjoy!
    *I am gluten free so I used potato starch instead of flour. It came out excellently.

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