Monday, July 19, 2010

Soft-Shell Crabs with Corn and Chorizo

I'm not sure what got into me this weekend, but when searching for a recipe to for some soft-shell crabs I had purchased, Chanterelle was the first cookbook I pulled off my shelf.  Normally, this cookbook from the late Chanterelle, arguably the first restaurant to bring New American cuisine to the Manhattan, is the last cookbook that comes to mind when I am in need of a simple summer recipe.  Even the simplest  recipes in the gorgeous book require require several pans and a few hours of prep time, making them nearly impossible to pull off in a small kitchen.  Up until this weekend, the cookbook had been relegated to use only for inspiration, so I don't know what made me do it, but I am sure glad that I took the book for a spin with this recipe for soft-shell crabs.  Not only is it fairly easy to make, but the crispy crabs served over a sweet creamy corn with a touch of spicy chorizo present a beautiful combination of flavors, textures, and colors.  This recipe makes more than enough corn and chorizo oil for one dish, so reserve each for another use; both are delicious.

Soft-Shell Crabs with Corn and Chorizo
Serves 2

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 link uncooked chorizo, chopped into 1/4 pieces
  • 1/2 tsp hot Spanish smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sweet Spanish smoked paprika
  • 3 tsbp butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp flour, plus more for dredging the crabs
  • 2 cups chicken stock 
  • kernels from 2 ears of corn
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 soft-shell crabs, cleaned
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  1. Place the olive oil and chorizo in a saute pan and cook over medium heat.  Cook until the oil becomes reddish-brown and the chorizo is crisp, about 20 minutes.  Stir in the paprika.  Remove from the heat and remove the chorizo with a slotted spoon and reserve.  Pour the oil into a small bowl and reserve it as well.
  2. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a medium saucepan over low heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.  Sprinkle 1 tsp flour over the onions and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring the entire time to prevent the flour from burning.  Pour in the white wine and bring it to a boil.  Add the stock and corn and let the mixture come to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.  Season the corn mixture with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove 1/3 of the corn to a blender and blend it until it is creamy.  Stir the creamed corn back into the original corn mixture and set it over very low heat.
  3. Place the chorizo oil over very low heat to warm it. 
  4. Head the vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat until it is nearly smoking.   Season the crabs with salt and pepper and dredge them on both sides with flour.  Place the crabs shell-side down in the hot oil and cook until they are crisp and browned, 4 to 5 minutes.  Flip the crabs and cook until the other side is crisp and browned, 3 to 4 minutes.  Remove the crabs to a paper towel-lined plate. 
  5. Spoon the corn sauce over each serving plate.  Top the sauce with two crabs .  Drizzle a tsp of the chorizo oil over each plate.  Top each plate with the chorizo pieces and serve immediately. 

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